herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Police call off hunt for clues as tragic Nora's body is brought home

Nora Quoirin was found dead in a Malaysian rainforest
Nora Quoirin was found dead in a Malaysian rainforest

The search for forensic clues in the baffling disappearance and subsequent death of Nora Quoirin in the Malaysian rainforest has been stood down, local media have said.

Malaysian state police chief, Deputy Commander Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop, said that local law enforcement officers and officials from Ireland and France have left the area where the body of the 15-year-old, who had special needs, was found last week after going missing.

"As such, we have moved out," he told reporters.

"French and Irish investigators who had been working with Malaysian police have also left the area".

He said investigators would return only if "the need arose".

The development comes after the police chief confirmed on Sunday that Malaysian officials will be conducting a review of the massive search and rescue operation "after all investigations into the case were completed".

More than 350 people took part in the extensive search, including local volunteers.

However, the fact Nora's body was found about 2km from the Dusun eco-resort where she went missing on August 4 has raised questions.

Her naked body was found near a stream close to the Lata Berenbun waterfall - a site that Nora had expressed a desire to visit before she disappeared on the first morning of a holiday with her mother Meabh, from Belfast, her French father Sebastien and two siblings.

The area where her body was found had already been searched during the 10-day operation before the discovery on August 13.

Stress

A subsequent post-mortem examination conducted by two local pathologists revealed that Nora died from an internal haemorrhage brought on by stress and lack of food.

The post-mortem did not reveal any signs of sexual assault or other trauma.

However, according to a report in a British newspaper, Malaysian police admitted that some inexperienced searchers, who may have overlooked vital clues into her disappearance, took part in the search.

"We can't blame them because it was the first time for many of these searchers working for so many hours in these conditions, and water and food supplies were limited," an anonymous source said.

"Overall, I think they did a good job, despite incredibly arduous conditions."

Meanwhile, it is understood that Nora's body has been returned to south London, where her family lives.

The remains were collected from the mortuary at Tuanku Jaafar Hospital on Saturday and transported under police escort to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

A spokesman for the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is acting as a liaison between the Quoirin family and the media and is organising the repatriation of Nora's body, is not disclosing any details of the repatriation or funeral arrangements.

However, the family issued a statement last week confirming that they would be bringing Nora's body home "where she will finally be laid to rest, close to her loving families in France and Ireland".

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