Nora Quoirin: body found in Malaysia confirmed as missing girl

Postmortem examination to determine whether further police investigation needed

Nora Quoirin and her mother.
Nora Quoirin, right, pictured with her mother, had been missing for more than a week. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A postmortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death of Nora Quoirin, 15, whose body has been found in the Malaysian jungle.

The London girl’s body was discovered on Tuesday by a local team of hikers just over a mile from the resort where she had been on holiday with her family. The find brought to an end a 10-day search which had involved more than 350 volunteers and drawn offers of support from around the world.

“The family confirmed that the body found is indeed missing Nora Anne,” the police chief for Negeri Sembilan state, Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusof, said. “Both parents, the mother and father, both confirmed it.”

He said the postmortem would be carried out at 10am on Wednesday and that the police would then determine whether any further investigations were needed. Officers leading the investigation have not ruled out a “criminal element” in the teenager’s disappearance.

Malaysia’s deputy inspector general of police, Datuk Mazlan Mansor, had earlier told reporters there was “reasonable suspicion” that the body of the “Caucasian female” found 1.2 miles from the Dusan resort was that of Nora, who is of Irish and French descent.

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

The body was uncovered near a stream at around 2pm by members of the Seremban hikers club, who had joined police, residents and members of the indigenous Orang Asli people in the search and rescue operation. The area in the Betembum mountains where the discovery was made, and which was described by the police chief as “not an accessible place”, had been scoured by rescue team days earlier.

A statement from the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is representing the family, said: “The Lucie Blackman Trust can confirm with great sadness that the body found today is that of missing teenager Nora Quoirin. Local police have confirmed identification.

“The charity will update as soon as possible. Please respect the family and do not approach them at this difficult time. All at the Lucie Blackman Trust are thinking of the family and continue to support them as they come to terms with this news.”

A Malaysian police forensics truck arrives in Sembilan, in the southern Negeri Sembilan state, on 13 August.
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A Malaysian police forensics truck arrives in Sembilan, in the southern Negeri Sembilan state, on 13 August. Photograph: Fazry Ismail/EPA

Nora, who was born with the neurological disorder holoprosencephaly and needed help with many aspects of everyday life, had arrived at the eco-resort with her parents and two younger siblings on 3 August for a two-week holiday. They had gone to bed that night, Nora sharing a room with her brother and sister, but the next morning they discovered her gone. A large window in the hotel room was found open and while her family insisted she had been abducted, the police continued to treat the incident as a missing person case.

Nora’s mother, Meabh, made an emotional appeal for help in finding her on Monday, and a £10,000 reward was offered by an anonymous Belfast-based business for information leading to her safe return.

The Quoirins had said Nora’s condition meant she was not independent and had difficulty walking.

Search crews had played her mother’s voice in the dense forest of the Negeri Sembilan area near where she disappeared. Quoirin could be heard saying: “Nora, darling, Nora, I love you, Mum is here,” on the recording.

‘Nora darling, mummy’s here’: Police search for missing girl using mother's voice recording - video

Nora’s parents thanked those looking for her as fundraising pages set up by the teenager’s aunt and uncle raised more than £100,000.

Appearing before cameras on Monday, her mother 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.”

After the discovery of Nora’s body was confirmed the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said the situation was “every family’s worst nightmare”.

He tweeted: “Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Nora Quoirin’s parents, siblings and wider family at this unimaginably difficult time. They have experienced every family’s worst nightmare. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who searched for Nora. May she rest in peace.”