The family of tragic teenager Nora Quoirin still believe she could have been abducted from the Malaysian resort where they were staying, despite police insisting today that she wandered off and was lost in the jungle for a week before she died of starvation.
Charles Morell, lawyer for parents Sebastien and Meabh, said the pair have also not ruled out pursuing a criminal probe and are waiting for the results of DNA and toxicology tests before making a decision.
Speaking to Irish broadcaster RTE, he said today the Quoirins ‘cannot understand how Nora could leave by herself’ and urged ‘caution’ over post-mortem results which showed Nora died of intestinal trauma likely caused by starvation and stress.
Meanwhile, Sylvain Quoirin, Nora’s paternal grandfather, told the Irish Times that ‘dark areas need to be cleared up for the family to be able to grieve in peace.’
Nora Quoirin’s remains were found Tuesday after 10 days missing in the Malaysian jungle, before police said a post-mortem showed she was alive for a week before dying of starvation
A lawyer for parents Meabh and Sebastien said they are still concerned their daughter was abducted and are waiting for the results of DNA and toxicology tests to decide whether or not to pursue a criminal probe
Malaysian police chief Mohamad Yusop insisted that Nora was alive and evaded searchers for six days in the jungle before they moved on, then discovered her body when they returned to the previous search area after 10 days
He said: ‘She wasn’t there [during previous searches]. Someone put her there, to get rid of her.
‘Can you imagine her walking 1.5miles, naked and barefoot, over rocks, in the middle of the night? For me, that’s absurd.’
Despite the family’s questions, Malaysian police chief Mohamed Yosup insisted that she had been ‘mobile’ in the jungle in the area that rescue teams were searching.
However, teams moved to a different area on the seventh day which is the day pathologists believe she died, and Mr Yosup believes she was narrowly missed.
Her remains were no discovered until 10 days after she went missing, near a remote jungle waterfall in an area that had been previously searched.
Yosup added that police might never know what had happened to the teen’s clothes. It is thought she went missing in her underwear but was found naked.
Nora, who suffered from learning difficulties, was reported missing on August 4 during a family holiday to a Malaysian eco-resort after her parents woke to find a window to their apartment open and their daughter gone.
A 10-day search involving hundreds of police, volunteers, sniffer dogs and helicopters was launched to find her, before her body was discovered just 1.5miles from the resort near a remote jungle waterfall.
The fact that the area had been searched previously – with no sign of her found – and the fact that she was found naked when it was thought she left the family apartment wearing underwear, raised the prospect she had been kidnapped and dumped.
But it now appears that she wandered off into the jungle and got lost before succumbing to starvation. It is not clear what happened to her clothes.
Nora Quiorin, the 15-year-old schoolgirl found dead in the Malaysian jungle Tuesday, survived for a week before dying of intestinal damage caused by starvation, police revealed today
After volunteer hikers found her body, she was taken to a hospital Seremban where pathologists carried out a post-mortem, with the results revealed at a press conference this morning.
Malaysia’s Deputy Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop told reporters that Nora likely died two to three days before her body was found, meaning she was alive and lost in the jungle for six or seven days.
The ruptured intestine was most likely caused by stress brought by not eating any food, medics said.
Mr Yusop said she had not eaten any food and this was a factor in her death.
He added that the Quoirins are now able to claim their daughter’s body for burial and return to London.
Police sources said detectives from the UK France and Ireland were present during part of the autopsy.
The Malaysia Attorney General will decide if an inquest will be held.
Addressing a packed press conference, the police chief said her leg had scratches on it but there was no other sign of violence.
Further tests will be carried out at a laboratory for chemical analysis.
Nora’s parent were informed of the results before they were made public.
Four pathologists carried out a 12-hour post-mortem at Tunku Jaafar Hospital (pictured) before the results were revealed Thursday
Nora was reported missing on August 4 after her parents awoke following their first night at a Malaysian eco-resort to find a window open and their daughter gone
A statement issued by Nora’s family before the post-mortem results were revealed 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.’
Sankara N. Nair, lawyer for the family, said they ‘expect the police to do a thorough investigation into the incident, including criminal angles.’
Nora’s parents have not said what their course of action will be following the post-mortem, but a criminal inquiry now appears unlikely.
Sean Yeap, a member of the search team which found Nora, previously described the moment he discovered her body in the jungle.
Speaking to Mail Online, he said: ‘It looked like she was sleeping. Her head was resting on her hands.
‘But we all knew she was dead.
‘It was very sad and two women in the group did not want to come close and they started crying.
The 15-year-old’s body was discovered near this jungle waterfall after a 10-day search involving hundreds of police and volunteers, helicopters and sniffer dogs
Sean Yeap, a volunteer who was among the party which found Nora’s body, said she was lying with her head resting on her hands and looked like she was asleep
Shirley Yap (far right) described how two members of the search team which found Nora broke down in tears after discovering the body
‘I think maybe she was elsewhere and walked to the stream perhaps to drink some water.
‘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.’
Mr Yeap, an insurance salesman, was with a group of 24 experienced hikers who had left the Dusun resort – where the family had been staying – to look for Nora on the 10th day of the search having volunteered to join.
Led by team leader Kenny Chan, the men and women set off to follow a trail on a palm oil plantation about 1.2miles from where Nora disappeared on August 4th.
He said they met an Indian man who told them he was familiar with the area and would assist them.
They followed a trail through the oil plantation when one of the group said he could smell a strong odour coming from the jungle.
It was then they came across tragic Nora’s body near a waterfall that the missing schoolgirl had excitedly talked about visiting.
Yeap and the others, including housewife Shirley Yap, stood back from the shocking discovery and waited for police.
Two of the group began crying and were comforted by others.
‘We knew not to touch the body and let the police do their work,’ he said.
‘The police took about 40 minutes to get there and sealed of the scene. We all had to make statements at the police station.’
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.
Emergency services and rescue workers arrive at the Dusun Resort, where Nora went missing from her family’s apartment on August 4
Police commanders brief their men on the search for Nora on Tuesday, just hours before her naked remains were discovered
She had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, where the brain fails to develop normally, had limited verbal communication and could only write a few words.
She attended a school for young people with learning and communication difficulties.
Yeap, a Chinese/Malay who spoke through an interpreter, said he feels nothing but sadness for Nora’s parents.
‘I feel so sorry for them but I am glad that we were able to find the body and they did not have to wait even longer to know what happened.’
Other member of the group who belong to the Kepayank Hiking Club read out a statement that they said was the ‘truth’ of what took place.
Since Nora’s body was found rumours have swirled particularly as she was found naked.
Shirley Yap, 50, read from a prepared statement describing how the group had formed a line either side of trail towards a stream.
She fought back tears when asked to describe finding the body.
‘It is not good. It sad to see a body like that,’ she said.
Describing the lead up to finding the body, Yap said they had spread out either side of a path and followed a trail through an old palm oil plantation.
After searching for 30 minutes they followed the trail downhill towards a stream.
She said: ‘One of our members saw the body lying across the small stream and called out. All of us turned back to where the body was found.
‘We stopped 10m from the body and all knew we should not stop too close to the scene of the body and waited there for the police to arrive.
‘It was hard for the police to find us as the area was quite inaccessible.
The place where Nora was found remained sealed off by police today.
Before Nora’s body was found mother Meabh, who is from Northern Ireland, and Sebastien, who is French, attended Mass at the Catholic church in the city of Seremban, 10 miles from their holiday home.
Father George Harrison, who held the service at the Church of Visitation, said he prayed with the pair and gave them a blessing.
Speaking to the Mirror, Father Harrison said the pair were ‘calm and staying strong’ and that an additional prayer will be said for Nora this Sunday after her body was found. Father Harrison may also bless Nora’s body.
The family had been staying at the Dusun resort which is popular with local tourists and located in an area known as the Pantai hills.
Family members arrive at the hospital where Nora’s body was taken after it was discovered in the Malaysian jungle
The 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.
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.
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.