Police ‘very certain’ body found in Malaysia is missing teenager Nora Quoirin
The 15-year-old has been missing for just over a week.
A body found in Malaysia is believed to be that of 15-year-old Nora Quoirin, who went missing while on holiday with her family.
The London teenager, who has special needs, disappeared from the jungle resort of Dusun on Sunday August 4.
Local police said that while they await formal identification of the body, which was discovered on Tuesday and winched by helicopter to a hospital, they are “very certain” it is the teenager.
National deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor told reporters at a press conference that a body which “resembles Nora” had been found beside a small stream about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) from the resort.
He said the body “was not in any clothings”.
He told reporters investigators had “reasonable belief that it must be her” and when questioned further added that, while they await formal identification, they are “very certain” it is her.
He said Nora’s family had been informed of the news and were going to the mortuary at the hospital to identify the body.
He added that while it remains a missing persons case police are looking into all possibilities including the “angle of criminal investigation”.
The force earlier confirmed that rescuers had found the body of a Caucasian female in the forest surrounding the nature resort.
Malaysian publication The Star reported that DCP Mohamad Mat said the search and rescue team received a call from a member of the public at around 1pm, and a team was sent to the area near a waterfall.
The newspaper said human remains had been found near Gunung Berembun in the Pantai Hills.
Following the news the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is handling media for the Quoirin family, said: “At this time we cannot confirm it is Nora. However, it sadly seems likely. Investigations are under way to confirm identity and cause of death.”
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, tweeted: “Irish + French embassies in Malaysia working together to provide every assistance to the Quoirin family. Irish embassy is in touch with Malaysian authorities on today’s discovery of a body. At this harrowing time all of our thoughts + prayers are with the family.”
Nora’s mother made a heartfelt appeal on Monday to find her as a £10,000 reward – donated by an anonymous Belfast business – was offered for information leading to her safe return.
The teenager’s parents, Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, a French-Irish couple who have lived in London for 20 years, thanked those looking for her as fundraising pages set up by Nora’s aunt and uncle collected more than £100,000 from well-wishers.
Volunteer hikers and even reportedly a shaman were among those taking part in the search for Nora, who was born with the brain defect holoprosencephaly.
The Quoirins had said Nora’s condition meant she was not independent and had difficulty walking.
Appearing in front of the cameras on Monday, a visibly emotional Mrs Quoirin 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.”
On Monday morning, a total of 348 personnel were deployed in the search operation, according to Malaysia’s Malay Mail newspaper.
Previously, search crews looking for Nora played her mother’s voice in the dense Malaysian forest near where she disappeared.
Mrs Quoirin could be heard saying “Nora, darling, Nora, I love you, Mum is here,” on the recording.
Police said the teenager, who was travelling on an Irish passport, was believed to have climbed out of her resort room window.
After Nora went missing, her family described how she was particularly vulnerable.
They said: “Nora is a very special person. She is fun, funny, and extremely loving. With her family, she is very affectionate – family is her whole world.
“She is not like other teenagers. She is not independent and does not go anywhere alone.”
The National Crime Agency (NCA), the Metropolitan Police and Irish police were supporting the Malaysian police with the case.
The Lucie Blackman Trust provides support to families with a loved one in crisis abroad.