Melissa Caddick: Early search for missing Sydney fraudster needed ‘open mind’

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Before she became one of the most intriguing and notorious missing persons in Australian history, Melissa Caddick was just one of dozens of people who go missing each day.

A 10-day inquest into the fraudster’s death continued in Sydney on Monday, examining the circumstances leading to the 49-year-old’s disappearance in November 2020 and her mindset at the time.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti reveals bombshell theory.

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NSW Police Detective Chief Inspector Glen Browne was manager of the NSW missing persons registry when Caddick vanished, and is now co-ordinating investigations for the homicide squad.

He told the inquiry on Monday the registry dealt with between 30 and 35 fresh reports every day.

Two days after her home was raided by corporate watchdog ASIC and Australian Federal Police officers, Caddick was reported missing on Friday, November 13, 2020 by her husband Anthony Kolletti.

Melissa Caddick was last seen at her Dover Heights home. Credit: NSW Police

Browne did not find out for four days.

Other police were investigating and had formed the view she was on the run.

Browne said it was important for a missing persons investigation to follow all possible lines of inquiry and collect as much evidence as quickly as possible.

In conversations with other investigators he reminded them to keep an open mind.

“I got a sense from the conversation that the primary line of inquiry is that Melissa was avoiding being located,” Browne said.

Anthony Koletti. Credit: AAP
Melissa Caddick. Credit: AAP

He said the theory was “being given more importance than others”.

“There needed to be a significant focus on searching and canvassing,” he said.

There were also concerns that she had been murdered or had harmed herself, that were not being given as much weight as the fugitive theory.

Caddick defrauded family and friends of between $20 million-$30 million in a Ponzi scheme before vanishing hours after authorities raided her Dover Heights home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The inquest has heard from a number of key witnesses, including Koletti and psychologists.

NSW Police investigators are giving evidence on Monday and Tuesday as the inquiry draws to a close.

Melissa Caddick’s foot washed up on a NSW beach. Credit: 7NEWS

Koletti told the inquest in September he held ASIC responsible for his wife’s suspected death.

“I believe she died as a direct result of ASIC’s negligence, cruelty and inhumanity,” Koletti said during his statement to the inquest.

He later accepted his wife was a fraudster after “paying attention to the court proceedings”.

Expert evidence found Caddick suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, and the shame and humiliation suffered from being exposed could have caused intense psychological distress, and potentially caused her to take her own life.

The self-styled financial advisor was last seen at her home in November 2020 as ASIC and federal police investigating her conduct executed a search warrant of her residence.

In February 2021, her decomposing foot washed ashore in a running shoe at Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast.

The inquest continues.

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