Belfast Telegraph

Body found in Malaysia search ‘likely’ to be Nora Quoirin

The London teenager, with French-Irish parents, disappeared from the Malaysian jungle resort of Dusun on August 4.

Nora Quoirin was last seen in her bedroom at a resort in Malaysia (Family handout/Lucie Blackman Trust/PA)
Nora Quoirin was last seen in her bedroom at a resort in Malaysia (Family handout/Lucie Blackman Trust/PA)

By Catherine Wylie and Aine Fox, PA

A body has been found in the search for 15-year-old Nora Quoirin, who went missing while on holiday in Malaysia.

The London teenager, who has special needs, disappeared from the jungle resort of Dusun on Sunday August 4.

Malaysian police confirmed on Tuesday that rescuers had found the body of a Caucasian female in the forest surrounding the nature resort where Nora was reported missing.

An official told reporters at a press conference that a body had been found which “resembles Nora”, adding: “The body was winched by helicopter to the hospital.”

He said Nora’s family had been informed of the news and were going to the mortuary at the hospital to identify the body.

Earlier, 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, 1.2 miles (2km) from the resort.

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which is handling media for the Quoirin family, also confirmed that a body had been found in the search for the teenager.

“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,” the charity said.

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Rescuers gather in a cordoned-off area in Pantai, Malaysia (AP)

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.

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Meabh Quoirin helped in the search for her daughter (The Royal Malaysia Police/AP)

Voluntary 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.

Ms Quoirin could be heard saying “Nora, darling, Nora, I love you, Mum is here,” on the recording.

A police chief told the Star that Ms Quoirin’s voice was used first as she is closest to Nora.

He said the teenager, who has an Irish passport, was believed to have climbed out of her resort room window.

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Rescuers taking part in the search for Nora (AP)

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.”

Police leading the investigation have refused to rule out a “criminal element” in Nora’s disappearance.

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.

PA

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