The parents of Nora Quoirin, a teenager who was found dead 10 days after disappearing in Malaysia while on a family holiday, have told of the harrowing moment they learned of her death.
Nora's body was found 2.5km from a holiday resort where she had been staying with parents Meabh and Sebastian Quoirin, and her two younger siblings in Dusun in August last year.
Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin said they were beginning to feel hopeful that Nora (15) would be found safe shortly before they were old the devastating news that her body was found.
"It happened at a time where we started to feel more optimistic because we thought if Nora hasn’t been found within 7 days or 9 days, then she’s not around. If she’s not around, then she’s been abducted," Sebastien told RTE's Late Late Show.
"Therefore, let’s play the waiting game sort of. Let’s wait until the abductors come to us and ask for a ransom. In fact, we actually received a random email the previous evening of people saying they had Nora. "
Meabh recalled the moment police officers informed them of the discovery.
"We just kept on believing.
"All of the support we were getting, people hoping with us, got us through the next day and the next day. The fact that they told us that they didn’t know for sure it was Nora, although they felt very strongly it probably was, at first they could just tell us that the body of a young girl had been found.
"Of course, immediately we knew. I can still hear myself screaming 'no' at the police officers. We had to face the inevitable.
"Within a matter of hours, we were taken in a police convoy to the hospital where we had to identify Nora," she said.
Nora's parents first realised she was missing shortly after Sebastien woke to find she wasn't in her bed.
“I think I’ll remember this for the rest of my life. I looked at the bed, Nora was missing. I could feel it in my bones that, and you cannot underestimate the power of parental instinct, I felt and I knew immediately that Nora had been taken," he said.
“I shouted for Meabh about the situation and then the panic started to search for Nora, running like a headless chicken, calling on staff for help. The stress level went through the roof at the time."
He continued: "The first couple of days were complete chaos. The local police force were not adequately prepared for this type of crisis.
"Thanks to the help of the Irish and French embassies, this crisis was escalated to national level."
The Quoirins added that they believe Nora was abducted as she was born with a rare genetic condition called Holoprosencephaly, which means she "would have been physically and mentally incapable" of leaving the resort through the bedroom window, and wouldn’t of even known a window was there, "she wouldn’t of been able to see it."
They said they would like Malaysian police to reopen the case.
"We believe she was abducted, we believe she was kept in the jungle for the time that she was missing. I suppose we don’t really feel it’s helpful to speculate beyond that because there are many theories as to why, and what exactly happened. I think at this stage what’s important for us to let the police do their job," Meabh said.
"What we’re hoping they will reopen an investigation, we’re not detectives. We’d really like the Malaysian police to go back and properly examine all the angles of the case, and particularly, the criminal angles."
An autopsy showed Nora died from gastro-intestinal bleeding and an ulcer, which is likely to have been brought on by starvation and possible stress.
The Quoirins said they were shocked to learn that an inquest into her death would not be held.
"This news came as a shock to us," Sebastien said.
"The inquest is absolutely critical.
"Without the inquest, the case is closed. If the case is closed, there will be no truth, and we will be deprived from justice."