Jungle search for Nora Quoirin finds her body
A postmortem examination will determine the cause of death of Nora Quoirin, the 15-year-old Londoner whose body was formally identified by her parents yesterday, hours after it was found in the Malaysian jungle.
After an agonising 10-day search, which involved more than 350 volunteers and drew offers of support from around the world, Nora’s body was discovered by a team of local hikers about 1.2 miles from the resort where she had been on holiday with her family.
News of the find was announced by Mohamad Mat Yusof, the police chief for Negeri Sembilan state. “The family confirmed that the body found is indeed missing Nora Anne,” he said. “Both parents, the mother and father, confirmed it.”
He said there would be a postmortem examination today and the police would then determine whether further investigations were necessary. Police have not ruled out a “criminal element” in Nora’s disappearance.
An official told reporters earlier that a body had been found, which resembled Nora, and had been taken to hospital by helicopter.
The remains were uncovered near a stream at about 2pm yesterday by members of the
Seremban hikers club, who had joined police, locals and members of the indigenous Orang Asli tribespeople in the search-and-rescue operation.
The area in the Betembum mountains where her body was found – which was described by the police chief as “not an accessible place” – had already been scoured by the rescue team days earlier.
Nora’s family were informed of the news shortly after the body was discovered and were seen entering Tuanku Ja’afar hospital.
A statement from the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is representing the family, said: “The Lucie Blackman Trust can confirm with great sadness that the body found today is that of missing teenager Nora Quoirin. Local police have confirmed identification.”
The charity asked for the family to be left to grieve, adding: “All at the Lucie Blackman Trust are thinking of the family and continue to support them as they come to terms with this news.”
Nora, who was born with the neurological disorder holoprosencephaly and needed help with many aspects of everyday life, had been missing for 10 days. She and her family, including her parents and two younger siblings, had arrived at the Dusun eco-resort in the Negeri Sembilan area, about 40 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, last Saturday for a two-week holiday.
They had all gone to bed that night, Nora sharing a room with her brother and sister, but by the next morning they discovered she had gone. A large window in the hotel room was found open and while her family insisted she had been abducted, the police continued to treat the incident as a missing person case.
Indigenous trackers – and reportedly a shaman – were among those to have joined the search. Nora’s mother, Meabh Quoirin, made an emotional appeal for help in finding her on Monday, and a £10,000 reward was offered by an anonymous Belfastbased business for information leading to her safe return.
The Quoirins had said Nora’s condition meant she was not independent and had difficulty walking.
Search crews looking for Nora had played her mother’s voice in the dense Malaysian forest near where she disappeared. She could be heard saying “Nora, darling, Nora, I love you, Mum is here,” on the recording. On Friday, commandos from VAT 69, the Malaysian police’s elite special forces unit, were deployed to assist the search.
Nora’s parents thanked those looking for her as fundraising pages set up by the teenager’s aunt and uncle raised more than £100,000.
Appearing before cameras on Monday, her mother said: “Nora is our first child. She has been vulnerable since the day she was born. She is so precious to us and our hearts are breaking.”
The tragedy prompted grief in Ireland, where Nora’s mother comes from, and condolences from senior politicians there. Following the confirmation that Nora’s body had been found, the prime minister, Leo Varadkar, tweeted: “Our thoughts & sincere condolences are with Nora Quoirin’s parents, siblings & wider family at this unimaginably difficult time.
“They have experienced every family’s worst nightmare. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who searched for Nora. May she rest in peace.”
Michael Higgins, the Irish president, offered the family “deepest condolences”. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, tweeted: “At this harrowing time all of our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Nora Quoirin, who went missing in a Malaysian rainforest resort, with her mother, Meabh
▲ Malaysian police at the spot where Nora Quoirin’s body was found, about 1.5 miles from where she was last seen
▲ Nora, top, whose body was found by hikers who had joined police and locals in the search operation