A CORONER has found Burnie mother Helen Munnings is dead but the circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery.
Coroner Robert Pearce could not rule out murder or suicide, but said there was not sufficient evidence to find either of those scenarios to be the case.
He handed down his findings in Burnie yesterday, following a nine-day inquest, which ended in January.
``We're going to be seeking legal advice (on what to do next),'' Ms Munnings' mother Karel Black said.
``We're pretty pleased though that it's acknowledged that Helen is dead and hoping that it gives the CIB more clout.''
The 20-year-old pregnant Burnie mother has not been seen or heard from since July 23, 2008.
Mr Pearce found that she died on or around that date in the Burnie area.
He rejected a suggestion made during the inquest that Ms Munnings could have staged a disappearance and was living in the Northern Territory.
Mr Pearce urged Tasmania Police to keep the case open.
At the time of her disappearance, Ms Munnings had a two-year-old son to Adam Taylor, who was in a long-term relationship with another woman.
Ms Munnings and Mr Taylor first met in 2004, when she was 16 and he was 30.
``Differing versions were given to the inquest of the nature and extent of the relationship between Mr Taylor and Helen Munnings over the following period of about three years,'' Mr Pearce said.
Ms Munnings was pregnant again at the time of her disappearance, most likely to Mr Taylor.
``One scenario that might explain Helen's disappearance is that she took her own life,'' Mr Pearce said.
``Helen was a young person facing a number of factors that would be stressful for her.
``The evidence does not justify a finding that she took her own life . . . however, in the absence of another explanation, it remains a possible reason for her disappearance.''
Mr Taylor was the last person to see Ms Munnings alive. He picked her up about 4.15pm the day she disappeared and said that he dropped her off on the highway about 6pm.
``One of the issues raised during the inquest is whether I should find that Mr Taylor is a person who contributed to the cause of Ms Munnings' death,'' Mr Pearce said.
``The evidence does not justify such a finding.''
Mr Pearce made no formal recommendation or comment in relation to Ms Munnings' death except to indicate that the police investigation should remain open.
``Further evidence may become available,'' he said.