Belfast Telegraph

Villager saw ‘white girl’ bathing in river on day teen vanished

Nora Quoirin
Nora Quoirin
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

Malaysian villagers claimed to have seen a “white girl” bathing in a river close to a nature reserve where Nora Quoirin had vanished from.

The reported sighting is said to have happened on Sunday, August 4 — the day the 15-year-old girl was reported missing from the Dusun jungle resort where she had been staying with her family.

Her body was discovered on Tuesday near a waterfall on the 10th day of an intensive search of the area.

Details of the reported sighting emerged yesterday as Nora’s body was released to her parents Meabh (45), from Belfast, and Sebastien (47), who is French.

Her remains will now be repatriated to London where she had lived with her sister Innes (12), brother Maurice (9) and parents.

Her parents said that “dark areas need to be cleared up” about the circumstances of her death.

Pathologists found that Nora, who had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, died from internal bleeding between two and four days before she was found, most likely due to starvation and stress. They also confirmed there were no signs of abduction or sexual assault.

Speaking during the search operation on August 6, state deputy police chief Che Zakaria Othman told Sky News: “We have information from one of the villagers that they saw a white woman bathing in the river at about 7pm on Sunday. He was riding a motorcycle (when he saw this). He did not take a photo as he was passing by but we are checking.”

Police said they subsequently searched the riverbed but found nothing.

It has since emerged that the area where Nora was found was combed by rescued teams prior to the discovery of her body.

Meanwhile, rescuers told how they faced a real challenge getting to the scene and retrieving Nora’s body.

One team member, who spoke to local media on condition of anonymity, said they had to wade through two deep streams.

The volunteer also revealed that when they arrived at the location they found Nora’s body lying on a rock near a river.

It is understood that the team was prepared to carry her body out of the jungle, but the team’s superior decided that the body would be winched out on a helicopter to save time in the treacherous terrain.

“The whole process took some time as we had to clear the area (of branches and leaves) so that the helicopter could winch her body up,” the team member said.

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