FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Missing businesswoman Melissa Caddick is dead, police have confirmed, after her foot washed up on a beach more than 400km from where she was last seen in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The 49-year-old did not take her mobile phone, wallet or keys when she left her Dover Heights home to go for a run, just before sunrise on November 12.
Ms Caddick had not been seen since, and police today confirmed campers found her “badly decomposed foot” inside a shoe at Hobart Beach in the Bournda National Park, near Tathra, on Sunday.
DNA from the foot was matched to samples taken from Ms Caddick’s toothbrush and family.
Bournda Beach is about 430km south of the cliff-top home where Ms Caddick was last seen.
“That foot and the shoe matched the size and description of a shoe that Melissa Caddick was seen wearing during the execution of the ASIC search warrant,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said.
“DNA from the foot was last night matched to a DNA sample from Melissa Caddick’s toothbrush and from family members.”
Melissa Caddick left her Dover Heights home in November.(Supplied)
Last month, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said authorities were “treating the case as if she’s alive”.
“We’re still actively looking for CCTV, downloading information from her car’s computers and again doorknocking … to try and identify where she may be,” he said.
Police said modelling of drifts and waves showed it was possible that Ms Caddick entered the water from Dover Heights before her body was carried south.
However, police stressed it was still early days of the investigation.
“We just don’t know at the moment,” Assistant Commissioner Willing said. “At this point we can’t rule out anything. We’ve kept an open mind all along.
“However, given the circumstances of her disappearance, the fact she left personal belongings behind, we have always considered the possibility that she may have taken her own life.”
Melissa Caddick, pictured with her husband Anthony, has been missing since November.(Supplied)
Assistant Commissioner Willing said her family had been informed and were very “distressed” by the news.
He said police would continue to conduct searches around the area where the foot was found in order to try and locate Ms Caddick’s remains.
Prior to her disappearance, her eastern suburbs home was raided by investigators from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
ASIC alleged she was misappropriating investor funds through her financial services company, Maliver, and operating without a licence.
The Federal Court this week heard forensic reports of Ms Caddick’s company run into “hundreds” of pages and investors were in the process of trying to recoup millions of dollars they gave to her.
The corporate watchdog previously said in court Ms Caddick’s investors handed over $13.1 million and named more than 60 clients in documents.
However, a law firm acting for some of the investors believed the true total may be $20 million or higher.
The reports were given to ASIC and the Federal Court, but a suppression order prevents their findings from being reported on.
It was also revealed this week that just $5,600 remained in her bank account.
Her husband, Anthony Koletti, was granted access to limited funds for living expenses and to support Ms Caddick’s son.
However, that arrangement ceased after a court order was made.
Lady Gaga’s dog walker was reportedly shot in the chest four times in Los Angeles Wednesday night by gunmen who stole two of the superstar’s beloved bulldogs — with the distraught star offering a $500,000 reward.
Dog walker Ryan Fischer was ambushed close to his home in West Hollywood as he walked Gaga’s dogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav at around 10pm, according to TMZ.
Disturbing footage has emerged of the shocking incident, which was captured by home surveillance and obtained by TMZ, and shows a white sedan pulling up alongside Fischer before two men jumped out of the car. Fischer can be heard screaming, “No! Help me!” as he tried to grab the three dogs.
“Give it up!” one of the attackers yelled as they wrestled to steal the dogs. They managed to flee with two dogs, Gustav and Koji.
“Help me, I’ve been shot. I’m bleeding out of my chest,” Fischer is heard saying to a local who rushed to his aide, as he cradles Miss Asia. “They stole two dogs. They’re Frenchies. They’re Lady Gaga’s dogs.”
Fischer was rushed to a local hospital while Koji and Gustavo were stolen, a source close to Gaga confirmed to the New York Post.
Gaga — who is in Italy — is so distraught she is offering $500,000 to get her dogs back, with no questions asked, sources told The Post.
Mr Fischer “is thankfully recovering well,” the source said.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that it was not clear if the thieves knew the dogs belonged to Gaga, saying French Bulldogs are often targeted because they are in high demand.
Lady Gaga has offered a $500,000 reward for the recovery of her dogs after they were stolen in LA. Picture: @ladygaga/InstagramSource:Instagram
The LAPD confirmed the shooting but said it was too early to know “if it was a robbery” or if anything else was taken. A spokesman said the victim was taken to a local hospital in an unknown condition.
The suspects took off in a white vehicle and are still on the loose, the spokesman said.
Representatives for Gaga did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Australian news is back on Facebook after the social media giant agreed to reverse a block on Australian content.
Facebook pages for news outlets including the ABC, Herald Sun, Seven Network and Sydney Morning Herald were restored in the early hours of Friday morning.
The move came a week after Facebook stopped Australian users from sharing or posting news links last Thursday.
Facebook said it was responding to the federal government’s proposed media bargaining code.
A number of non-news pages were initially swept up in the ban, including community organisations, charities and the Bureau of Meteorology.
The code is structured so that if Facebook and Google do not sign commercial deals with traditional media outlets the Treasurer can “designate” them, and force them to pay for access to news content.
Facebook on Tuesday agreed to reverse the ban after the government said it would make amendments to the laws, including giving Facebook more time to strike deals.
Parliament passed the revised legislation for the code on Thursday.
The government and the social media company spent days negotiating, including discussions between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday that it was “pleased” the company was able to reach an agreement with the government.
“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” the statement said.
But the company’s vice-president Campbell Brown said Facebook retained its right to take Australian news content down again in the future.
Mr Frydenberg said Mr Zuckerberg had told him that he intended to sign commercial deals with news publishers.
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