What happened to Melissa Caddick?

The Australian businesswoman is the subject of a new ITV documentary

Melissa Caddick (photograph taken by her husband, Anthony Koletti) with the family dog
(Image credit: ITV / Anthony Koletti)

True crime fans will be trying to piece together what happened to Australian millionairess Melissa Caddick when her life features in a new upcoming ITV documentary.

If you're a fan of real-life documentaries and have found yourself asking what happened to Gaia Popeand where is Belle Gibson now, you might be keen to know the ins and outs of a real-life disappearance. 

The Real Vanishing Act: The Missing Millionairess will bring the details of the story that gripped Australia to screens - on the surface Melissa was a successful businesswoman who had everything she ever dreamed of including a family, luxury penthouse and designer wardrobe. But what transpired was that Melissa, a financial advisor, had cheated 74 victims, including her friends and family, out of $AUD23 million.

We look at all you need to know ahead of its release...

What happened to Melissa Caddick?

Melissa Caddick is a millionairess who went for a morning run in Sydney in November 2020 and never returned home. Three months later, surfers on a beach 250 miles south of Sydney made a grisly discovery - a washed-up trainer containing human remains.  Three theories will be explored - 1. that she was murdered by gangsters, 2. that she jumped to her death from a clifftop, and 3. that she cut off her own foot and went on the run. 

The Real Vanishing Act: The Missing Millionairess will explore the extraordinary disappearance of this committed fraudster, which has spawned countless competing theories amongst web sleuthing communities and generated thousands of news articles. 

It will seek to aid and narrate the story of Melissa’s victims, as well as bring them some true closure in this modern-day tale of deceit, mystery, and the still missing millions of dollars. 

Jo Clinton-Davis, ITV controller of factual, said, "We have had demonstrable success coupling the real story to dramas based on true events. The real story of Melissa Caddick is inherently full of drama and intrigue and with a sharp focus on the victims as well as unpicking each strand of the mystery we are sure this will be a compelling and extraordinary feature documentary."

Melissa Caddick with her husband, Anthony Koletti

(Image credit: ITV)

Is Melissa Caddick still alive?

Melissa Caddick's decomposed foot was found on a remote beach located hundreds of kilometres from their Dover Heights home but the rest of her body has never been recovered. Her husband Anthony Koletti has claimed he "knows why she died" months after her foot was discovered.

Fatima Salaria, managing director of Naked and Life and Limb Executive Producer said, “At the heart of this missing persons case is a handful of victims and many, many missing millions. Potentially finding out what happened to Melissa and drawing attention to her case globally, it could bring an important chance for closure for so many of the people involved.”

It portrays Australia in the grip of the mystery as theories abound about Melissa’s fate following the discovery of her disembodied foot inside her running shoe.  

Investor Kate Horn The Real Life Vanishing Act

(Image credit: ITV)

Is Vanishing Act a true story?

Yes, Vanishing act is based on a true story. It tells the story of charismatic con-artist, Melissa Caddick, a milionnaire from Sydney who went missing in November 2020. Three months later and her washed up trainer containing her human foot was washed up on a surfers beach 250 miles south of Sydney. It tells the story of this grim discovery and also those who suddenly found themselves grieving for a lost friend and daughter, while coming to terms with a monumental betrayal. Her life was lost, but theirs would never be the same again.

Melissa Caddick’s disappearance after being confronted by authorities for her alleged multi-million dollar swindling has been made into this three-part series.

Who is in the cast of The Real Vanishing Act?

The cast of The Real Vanishing Act are Kate Atkinson stars as Melissa Caddick, Colin Friels plays George K, Jerome Velinsky as Anthony Koletti, and Maya Stange as Angie Beyersdorf.

You can watch a trailer for the series that first aired on Australian TV below...

The Real Vanishing Act: The Missing Millionairess airs on ITVX on Thursday 3rd August 2023 and on ITV at a later date.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)