AN inquest has begun into the disappearance and suspected death of Scone toddler Leonie Hutchinson.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Warwick Hunt, told Muswelbrook Coroners Court this morning that the two-year-old had not been seen since late 2001.

Mr Hunt said Leonie’s mother, Kate Hutchinson, suffered from schizophrenia and had given “similar but differing”

versions of Leonie’s whereabouts over the years.

They include the girl living on a farm outside Scone and with friends on the Central Coast.

Mr Hunt said there had not been any record of Leonie since her mother’s landlord noticed the toddler missing in August, 2001.

The inquest is expected to continue throughout the week.

The detective in charge of Strike Force Kanuna, Detective Sergeant Dave Frith, will be the first to give evidence.

Kate Hutchinson is also expected to give evidence.

The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon continues.