Australian police say they have found the partial remains of a fraud suspect who vanished from her Sydney home four months ago.
Businesswoman Melissa Caddick’s disappearance has captivated public attention, amid allegations she stole millions of dollars from her clients.
Police had found no trace of her until last week when campers spotted a shoe containing a decomposed foot on a beach 400km (250 miles) south of Sydney.
DNA testing matched it to Ms Caddick.
The financial adviser’s “time and cause of death” would now be determined by a coroner, New South Wales Police assistant commissioner Mick Willing said on Friday.
“It remains a mystery as to when and how she came into the water,” he told reporters.
“At this point we can’t rule out anything. We have kept an open mind, however given the circumstances of her disappearance… we have always considered the possibility that she may have taken her own life.”
He said ocean drift modelling done by the police had shown it was possible that Ms Caddick could have entered the water near her Sydney home.
Police were scouring a national park near Tathra on the state’s south coast in the hope of finding more clues, he added.
Ms Caddick, 49, disappeared early on 12 November last year, a day after federal police raided her home in the wealthy Sydney suburb of Dover Heights.
She was reported missing by her son and husband, who said they believed she had gone for an early-morning run. All of her personal belongings had been left behind.
Shortly after, allegations that she had committed financial fraud were reported by local media.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) alleged Ms Caddick had stolen at least A$13m ($10.2m; £7.3m) in invested funds from over 60 clients, including many of her own family and friends.
Local media reported allegations she had been living a lavish lifestyle, including taking overseas holidays and buying expensive clothes and jewellery.
Separate investigations by authorities probed her disappearance and alleged financial misconduct.
Earlier this month, police reiterated their belief that Ms Caddick was still alive.
But on Friday, Mr Willing said the discovery of her remains indicated that she was dead.
He said her family had been told of the discovery on Thursday and were “obviously distressed”.
Mr Willing said there had been no sightings of Ms Caddick near where her remains had been found.