‘The cruelty of Nora being taken away is unbearable’: Nora Quoirin’s parents say their girl ‘touched the world’ as they thank searchers – but demand to know if her body was missed by police or dumped near Malaysian waterfall by criminal
- Teenager vanished from her family’s accommodation at an eco-resort in the country
- Family feared the worse because 15-year-old was vulnerable and unlikely to walk out on her own
- Searchers made grim discovery of missing girl’s naked body close to waterfall
Pictured: Nora Quoirin, who was found next to a waterfall in Malaysian jungle yesterday
The family of tragic teen Nora Quoirin have issued a statement saying their ‘hearts are broken’ following her death.
They also paid tribute to those who took part in the search and said Nora had ‘touched the world’ as people came together in the hope she would be found.
The statement said: We would like to thank all the people that have been searching for Nóra and trying their best to find her.
‘We thank the local people here and those far and wide for their prayers and support at this time. Nóra has brought people together, especially from France, Ireland, Britain and Malaysia, united in their love and support for her and her family.
‘She has truly touched the whole world. To all our friends and family at home, we can’t thank you enough for all your love.
Nóra is at the heart of our family. She is the truest, most precious girl and we love her infinitely. The cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable. Our hearts are broken. We will always love our Nóra.’
The statement was issued by the missing person’s charity The Lucie Blackman Trust. Spokesman Matt Searle said the family had asked for privacy to grieve the death of Nora and would not be making any other comment to the media.
Nora’s family (pictured) are said to have many questions about how long it took to find the teenager
This is the waterfall at which the teenager’s body was found yesterday following a ten-day search in jungle
It comes after he said they still have ‘a large amount of questions’ about how long it took to find the body.
‘One of those questions is, has the body been there all the time or is there a criminal involvement? Was the body dumped there afterwards?’ he said.
Sean Yeap was with a group of volunteers taking part in the ten-day search and today revealed the body was not covered in leaves or foliage of any kind.
He said if search and rescue teams had walked through the area they would have spotted her but speculated that when the area was first searched she was not there.
‘I think maybe she was elsewhere and walked to the stream perhaps to drink some water,’ he said.
‘The place where she was found is not easy to find. I wonder if she had been following the stream as there were no footprints which means she could have been walking in the water as it was not very deep.’
Searchers found the body near a waterfall that the missing schoolgirl had excitedly talked about visiting.
The grim discovery was made yesterday, more than a week after the 15-year-old disappeared from an eco-resort during a two-week family holiday.
Nora’s body was found unclothed by a group of hikers who had joined the tenth day of a widespread search operation across the perilous terrain.
The teenager’s devastated family faced an agonising wait last night to find out whether her death had resulted from an accident or a crime.
Police chiefs insisted the disappearance was still being treated as a missing persons case, though a parallel criminal probe remains open.
Investigators said they were awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination before deciding on the next steps.
Matthew Searle, head of missing persons charity the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is working with Nora’s family, said: ‘It’s absolutely the outcome that none of us was hoping for.
‘They [the family] are going to have a large amount of questions. One of those questions is has the body been there all the time or is there a criminal involvement? Was the body dumped there afterwards?’
Volunteers discovered Nora’s body at 1.57pm yesterday close to a stream at the foot of a ravine on Berembun mountain, 1.6 miles from the Dusun resort where Nora’s family was staying.
The area, which is popular with local tourists and located in an area known as the Pantai hills, had previously been searched – but no clues were found.
The Dusun resort offers guided tours to the Lata Berembun waterfall, involving a 20-minute trek to the jungle entrance and a further one-hour walk along a defined jungle trail.
In a sad twist, it emerged yesterday that the teenager – who was born with a debilitating brain condition – had been keenly anticipating a trip to the waterfall.
Nora’s family searched in vain for the missing schoolgirl for more than a week
Only hours before her body was discovered, a member of the hiking club that found her said the group had been instructed to check the location.
Shirley Yap, who was among a group of around 20 volunteers from the nearby town of Seremban, said: ‘We had heard she was excited about seeing a waterfall when she arrived in the resort.’
The hikers, including leader Kenny Chan, were taken to give statements at a police station in the nearby village of Pantai, which served as the headquarters for the search operation.
Following the discovery, the schoolgirl’s devastated parents, Meabh and Sebastien, were taken to the area where her body was found.
They were later supported at the resort by relatives who had flown in from Singapore, London and Glasgow.
Nora had travelled to the 12-acre resort on August 3 with her parents, sister Innes, 12, and brother Maurice, eight.
After going to sleep with her siblings in an upstairs bedroom, she was discovered missing by her French father shortly after 8am the following morning.
Police were left with no clues about her whereabouts other than that a large downstairs window at the property had been left ajar.
Sniffer dogs lost her scent around 100 yards from the two-storey holiday cottage.
It is understood that Nora was wearing only underwear at the time of her disappearance, while a police chief previously confirmed that she was barefoot at the time.
The schoolgirl’s grandfather, Sylvain Quoirin, who is a mayor in France, had previously said it was ‘unthinkable’ Nora would have wandered off alone because of the severity of her learning difficulties.
Nora’s parents identified her body last night at Tuanku Ja’afar hospital in Seremban. She had been airlifted there after being winched out of the jungle.
A post-mortem examination will be carried out by senior pathologists from Kuala Lumpur this morning.
State police chief Mohamad Mat Yusof, who has led the searches, said: ‘We will inform the post-mortem result tomorrow. Based on that we will decide if we need to investigate further if we are not satisfied.’
He said that the search and rescue operation had yet to be called off, should authorities need to look for more evidence tomorrow.
The deputy chief of Malaysia’s police force Mazlan Mansor had earlier said that officers have so far found no evidence of criminal behaviour.
But he refused to confirm whether Nora had suffered any injuries or if anybody else may have been involved in her death.
He described Nora as ‘completely naked’ but ‘intact’ when she was found, adding it was too soon to determine how long her body had been at the scene.
Nora’s parents, who have lived in London for 20 years, had previously expressed fears that the schoolgirl had been abducted and had put up a £10,000 reward for information. Mrs Quoirin, 45, held back tears during a statement in which she said the family’s ‘hearts are breaking’ without her.
‘Nora is our first child. She has been vulnerable since the day she was born,’ she said.
A police vehicle at the entrance to the Dusun Resort where Nora vanished
The teenager had a smaller than average brain and struggled to act independently having been born with Patau’s syndrome, or holoprosencephaly.
The condition left her struggling to complete everyday tasks and with limited speech, walking ability and co-ordination.
During the search operation, rescuers had also played Mrs Quoirin’s voice through loudspeakers in the hope her daughter would hear, saying: ‘Nora, darling, Nora, I love you, Mummy is here.’
Mr and Mrs Quoirin, a data analysis firm salesman and market research company director, met in Northern Ireland and the family live in Streatham, south London.
The search for Nora had involved up to 350 staff from various government bodies over a period of ten days, alongside helicopters and drones equipped with thermal imagining technology.
British, Irish and French police had been dispatched to Malaysia to join the search. Scotland Yard said it was ready to deploy remote support.
The Dusun resort, located around 39 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, is nestled in the foothills of the Titiwangsa Mountains and borders the Berembun Forest Reserve.
The jungle is home to an array of harmful animals, including snakes, biting insects, tigers and wild boar.
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