Fundraiser launched by family of missing girl in Malaysia raises three times its target
A fundraising appeal has been launched in Belfast to assist the family of Nora Quoirin, a fifteen-year-old school who disappeared from a nature resort in Malaysia.
The Quoirin family said they believe Nora has been abducted after they discovered her missing from her bedroom at the Dusun resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on Sunday morning, with the window left open.
It is now being considered a criminal matter.
The appeal was started by Nora's aunt Aisling Agnew, who said that more family members are planning to travel to Malaysia to assist in the search for the missing teenager.
"More family members are travelling to Malaysia to participate in the search and rescue effort and would appreciate donations to cover any unforeseen expenses or charges incurred in the process," she said.
"Nora is my niece. Her parents and our families in Ireland and France are distraught by her disappearance."
£17,949 has now been raised of a £6,000 target for the appeal.
Sniffer dogs are also being used in the search for Nora, who is the daughter of an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for about 20 years.
"On behalf of our entire family, we are appealing to everyone to assist the local police in any way they can, if you are close by please get out and join the search and pass on any information that would help locate our beloved Nora without delay," said Ms Agnew.
The police said there were no initial signs of foul play but Nora’s family said they had “no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost”.
In a statement released on Tuesday, they added: “Nora’s family believe she has been abducted.
“We are especially worried because Nora has learning and developmental disabilities, and is not like other 15-year-olds.
“She looks younger, she is not capable of taking care of herself, and she won’t understand what is going on.
“She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost.”
Police have expanded the search for Nora, with more than 160 personnel now looking for the teenager, who has special needs, local media reported.
Those searching dense jungle and hilly terrain on foot and by helicopter include police, the fire and rescue services department, civil defence and the forestry department, Malaysia’s The Star reports.
State deputy police chief Che Zakaria Othman said local indigenous people – known as Orang Asli – are also helping with the search.
“We’ve got a platoon from the general operations force as well as a police canine team to look for Nora Anne,” he told The Star, adding that more personnel are expected to join the search.
He added that the CCTV system at the resort is limited to the counter area.
“The girl’s passport and other belongings are with the family,” he said.
Missing persons charity the Lucie Blackman Trust (LBT) had previously said Nora’s disappearance was being treated as an abduction.
Nora would not know how to get help and would never leave her family voluntarily Aisling Agnew
The girl’s family said they were treating the disappearance as a “criminal matter”.
A spokesman for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We are aware of the case and providing consular assistance.”