Sydney Mum Vanished After School Drop-Off

“Those girls were her life.”

Sydney Mum Vanished After School Drop-Off

Image: Police Media

Devoted Sydney mum Katherine Ackling-Bryen was upset and distressed as she dropped her two children - one wearing pyjamas - at school before going shopping to prepare for a family meal.

Then she vanished.

More than a year later her husband and mother can draw no other conclusion but that she is dead.

"I just cannot accept that Katherine would have walked away from her two girls ... those girls were her life," husband Michael Bryen told a NSW coronial inquest on Wednesday.

"If she was alive I believe she would have made some sort of contact."

Mr Bryen reported the 37-year-old missing after she failed to pick up their two daughters from Oxley Park Public School on February 19, 2016.

The court heard Ms Ackling-Bryen had suffered from anxiety and depression, and in 2013 she had an acute psychotic episode.

She'd had a stillborn baby in 2006 before her other children were born in 2007 and 2010.

About two months before she disappeared Ms Ackling-Bryen had a miscarriage. She stopped taking her medication during and after the pregnancy.

On the day she vanished in early 2016 Ms Ackling-Bryen was upset and distressed because one of her daughters had soiled her clothes the previous night.

She had decided to keep the girl at home but had a last-minute change of mind and dropped the girl at school in her pyjamas.

CCTV footage shows Ms Ackling-Bryen at St Marys Shopping Village about midday, but police have been unable to find any other trace of her.

"Given what I'd seen in her mental breakdown before and her ability to function normally, I don't believe there's been foul play," Mr Bryen said.

He searched Blue Mountains walking tracks in vain trying to find her, saying there were too many spots where someone who wanted to end their life "could drop off and nobody would ever know".

In an emotional statement, Ms Ackling-Bryen's mother, Sue Reeve, said she was "broken and shattered by her loss".

"There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more painful than anything that bleeds," she said.

Ms Reeve criticised the school for not contacting Mr Bryen when his wife dropped one of their daughters at school in pyjamas - a first for the family.

NSW deputy coroner Harriet Grahame said it seemed to be an "extraordinary situation", although the court heard it was not uncommon for other students to be provided uniforms.

Ms Grahame has indicated she'll find Katherine is deceased when she hands down her formal findings on Friday.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

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