Belfast Telegraph

With each passing day, every shred of hope faded... now Nora's family is left utterly broken

Nora’s parents Meabh and Sebastien
Nora’s parents Meabh and Sebastien
A missing poster of the teenager
Nora's aunt Eadaoin Agnew issues a plea
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

It was the dream holiday that ended in an unimaginable nightmare for the Quoirin family.

It began when 15-year-old Nora vanished without a trace shortly after she arrived on August 3 at the Dusun forest nature reserve in Malaysia for what they had all hoped would be the trip of a lifetime.

Right up until 2.30pm local time yesterday, Nora's mother Meabh (45), who is from Belfast, and her French father Sebastien (47) clung to an enduring hope that they would be reunited with their daughter.

But that hope was cruelly crushed 10 days into an ongoing jungle search when the young girl's lifeless body was discovered near a waterfall set in mountains just a mile away from the villa in which the Quoirins were staying.

Nora, who had special needs, was reported missing on August 4 by her dad, who raised the alarm after he discovered she had disappeared from her bedroom and that a downstairs window was wide open.

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A missing poster of the teenager

Prior to vanishing, Nora, the eldest of three children, had been sleeping in the same room as her sister (12) and brother (9) while her parents were in another bedroom a few feet away.

Local Malaysian newspapers reported that her clothes were in her room, suggesting that she disappeared wearing only her nightclothes.

The following day, missing persons charity The Lucie Blackman Trust said the Malaysian police were treating Nora's disappearance as a potential abduction, but officers on the ground denied any foul play.

It was later reported that the teenager, who was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder which affects brain development, was barefoot and dressed only in a nightdress when she went missing.

On August 6, her distraught dad issued a desperate appeal on social media asking the public for help in locating Nora, whom he believed had been taken.

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Nora's aunt Eadaoin Agnew issues a plea

His post read: "Our daughter Nora has now been missing for three days in Seremban, 1h 30 south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We believe she may have been abducted and we need your support to help us find Nora."

But police said there was no sign of any intruder entering the property. Nor did they find any footprints inside the villa or forensic evidence to suggest an unknown person was inside.

More than 200 officers had joined the search for Nora by August 7 and her grandfather Sylvain Quoirin, mayor of Venizy in north-central France, said it was "unthinkable" that she had wandered off alone. As the search intensified, more details emerged about the family.

It was reported that the Quoirins are an Irish-French family who have lived in London for 20 years.

Mea­bh is chief executive of a consumer analytics company there.

Four days after the teen went missing, officials hunting for her in the dense jungle played a heartbreaking recording of Nora's mum calling "Nora, Nora darling, mummy's here" through loudspeakers in an attempt to reach her.

Mrs Quoirin reached out in a statement describing her as "a special person" who is "fun, funny and extremely loving" as the frantic search for Nora continued, adding: "She is not like other teenagers. She is not independent and does not go anywhere alone."

Both parents also thanked the search teams helping to look for their eldest daughter, saying "it means the world to us. We are so grateful for everything that you are doing for us".

On August 11, Malaysian police set up a hotline dedicated to receiving information about Nora and two days ago a £10,000 reward, donated by an anonymous Belfast business, was announced for information leading to Nora's safe return.

Appearing before cameras on Monday, a tearful Ms 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."

Yesterday saw a devastating conclusion to the family's horrific ordeal as their hopes of finding Nora alive ended at a waterfall the young girl was said to have been excited about seeing when she arrived in the resort.

But, for the Quoirins, there will be no end to the devastation or the grief that was visited upon their lives during a brief stay at a remote eco-resort that robbed them of their bright future with their precious daughter.

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