Fam­ily ap­peals for leads and holds out hope for miss­ing Kather­ine Ack­ling-Bryen

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

THE three months since Ox­ley Park mum Kather­ine Ack­ling-Bryen dis­ap­peared have been the tough­est in the life of her hus­band.

Michael Bryen still holds out hope his wife will be found or come home but the months have been so tough that he feels “numb”.

Ms Ack­ling-Bryen, 37, van­ished on Fe­bru­ary 19 – a seem­ingly nor­mal day.

Just be­fore 9am she walked from her home on the north­ern side of the Great Western High­way, near the St Marys and Ox­ley Park border, to take her two daugh­ters – Emma, 6, and Caitlin, 9 – to Ox­ley Park Pub­lic School.

She re­turned to the school at 10.30am to drop off items for one of her daugh­ters. Almost an hour later a se­cu­rity cam­era cap­tured her shop­ping at Tar­get at St Marys Vil­lage shop­ping cen­tre in Charles Hack­ett Drive.

Po­lice be­lieve she re­turned home and dropped off her pur­chases, but what hap­pened af­ter that is a mys­tery.

“It’s in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult ... there hasn’t been any leads at all and that’s a bit­ter pill to swal­low,’’ Mr Bryen said. “You just can’t imag­ine your­self ever be­ing in this sit­u­a­tion.”

He cred­its a strong fam­ily and friend net­work, as well as a flex­i­ble and un­der­stand­ing work­place, for hold­ing him and the fam­ily to­gether.

“Some days are bet­ter than oth­ers but I wouldn’t ex­actly call those days good, ei­ther,’’ Mr Bryen said. “To be hon­est, I’m quite numb to it, it’s very grind­ing and tax­ing.”

Mr Bryen and Ms Ack­lingBryen’s mother, Sue, are call­ing for in­for­ma­tion from peo­ple who were in the area on that day. They hope some­one might have seen Ms Ack­ling-Bryen walk­ing some­where, or ask­ing for a ride.

She left the house locked and only took her keys.

“I’m her mother, so I’m bi­ased,” said Sue, who wanted her sur­name with­held. “She is just a lovely and lov­ing young woman.

“She loves her fam­ily – ev­ery time we spoke she said, ‘I love you’ and we said, ‘I love you’ to her ... ev­ery sin­gle time.”

She said the pain of not know­ing what had hap­pened to her daugh­ter was gnaw­ing at her.

“We just wake up ev­ery morn­ing hop­ing this is the day she’s go­ing to be found,” Sue said. “There is just a huge hole left in our fam­ily where she should be.

“There is just the an­guish of not know­ing. It’s just un­bear­able.”

Al­ready Ms Ack­lingBryen’s young fam­ily have had to strug­gle through mile­stones with­out her there to en­joy them.

Both daugh­ters have cel­e­brated their birthdays since she dis­ap­peared and Mother’s Day was a par­tic­u­larly painful event this year.

“That was a hard one,” Mr Bryen said. “The girls had stalls at school where they buy things for Mum.

“We wrapped the things up and then on the af­ter­noon of Mother’s Day we un­wrapped them – that was quite emo­tional.”

He said his wife’s dis­ap­pear­ance was hard­est on youngest daugh­ter, Emma.

“She misses the most ba­sic things, like cud­dles from Mum,’’ he said. “You can get them from Dad but they’re not the same.”

And what if Ms Ack­lingBryen comes home?

“We’ll be here,’’ Mr Bryen said.

It’s in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult ... there hasn’t been any leads at all and that’s a bit­ter pill to swal­low Michael Bryen

Kather­ine Ack­ling-Bryen (top) has been miss­ing since Fe­bru­ary 19 and (bot­tom) CCTV footage of her at St Marys shop­ping cen­tre on the day of her dis­ap­pear­ance.

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