herald

Friday 13 December 2019

'Please keep open minds on what happened to our girl', Nora family plead

Nora’s parents Sebastien and Meabh at a police press conference in Malaysia
Nora’s parents Sebastien and Meabh at a police press conference in Malaysia

The family of Nora Quoirin have said they hope to have "more answers to our many questions" over the death of their daughter in the Malaysian jungle.

The 15-year-old's body was found on Tuesday, 2.5km from a holiday resort where her family had been staying.

Malaysian police say the teenager starved after her disappearance and there was no evidence of abduction or kidnapping "for the time being".

However, her family hope the "truth" of what happened to Nora will be uncovered within days when the results of toxicology and pathology tests are revealed.

inquiry

Nora's mother Meabh (45), from Belfast, and her French husband Sebastien Quoirin (47), are relying on the DNA and toxicology tests to reveal more about the tragic end to their daughter's life, as their "minds remain open that Nora could have been taken or led away".

Calls are also being made for a review of how the search operation was conducted, with An Gardai Siochana, as well as British and French police, urged to get involved in an inquiry.

Nora, who had holoprosencephaly, a rare brain condition, did not have the capacity to wander off into the jungle, members of her family say.

The Quoirins' solicitor in Paris, Charles Morel, told the Herald: "There's no possible definitive conclusion with the first post-mortem result.

"We're waiting for toxicological analysis and pathological tests."

After meeting Malaysia's deputy prime minister and state minister yesterday, Nora's family said they are "struggling to understand the events of the last 10 days".

The statement, issued on the family's behalf by the Lucie Blackman Trust, added: "The initial post-mortem results have given some information that helps us to understand Nora's cause of death.

"But our beautiful, innocent girl died in extremely complex circumstances and we are hoping that soon we will have more answers to our many questions."

Meanwhile, a former police officer advising the family has appealed for authorities to retain an "open mind" about the cause of death.

Criminal

"The family themselves have always had a question mark of whether there was any criminal activity, and I think everyone should retain an open mind," Jim Gamble told the BBC's Breakfast programme.

Malaysian police said it was likely Nora spent a week in the jungle on her own.

She went missing from the resort of Dusun on Sunday, August 4.

The teenager had died between two and four days before her body was discovered, an initial post-mortem examination revealed.

"In the villa, we do know that the downstairs window was broken, so it couldn't have been locked by the family and could have been opened from outside," Mr Gamble said.

"We know why Nora died, in simple terms from starvation. We know where she ended up, but we don't necessarily know how she got there."

The family said they will be bringing Nora's body home "where she will finally be laid to rest".

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