Justice Minister: What happened to Nóra ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’
Nóra’s uncle questions how could she have survived for five days in jungle
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: “As a father of two daughters myself, like I am sure every parent in the country, our hearts go out to the family.” Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has extended his sympathies to the family of Nóra Quoirin, saying her disappearance and death was “every parent’s worst nightmare unfolding”.
Speaking in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim on Thursday evening, Mr Flanagan said: “As a father of two daughters myself, like I am sure every parent in the country, our hearts go out to the family. At this time of huge grief we can only wish them well for the future.”
Asked whether there was now any role for gardaí in investigating the tragedy, Mr Flanagan said he was pleased a Garda liaison officer was in Malaysia assisting the family and liaising with local police.
“I believe that was important in the context of ensuring their needs were met,” he said, referring to the Quoirin family.
Nóra’s unclothed body was discovered in a ravine by a stream on Tuesday, following an intense 10-day search. Malaysian police on Thursday announced partial results of a post-mortem examination which concluded that the 15-year-old died from a haemorrhage of the intestine caused by stress and hunger.
Mr Flanagan declined to comment on the views of Nóra’s French grandfather Sylvain Quoirin, who said on Wednesday he believed “someone put” the teenager’s body in the place where she was found on Tuesday following a 10-day search operation.
Mr Flanagan said: “I understand that investigations are ongoing and as Minister for Justice I would be reluctant to make any direct comment on it. I think the next 24 hours will tell in terms of ongoing police briefings and statements.”
Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, Nóra’s uncle, Pacôme Quoirin, a graphic designer, said: “It is important that the criminal hypothesis not be excluded on the basis of incomplete information.”
He added: “How could she have survived for five days in the jungle without food or water, if you believe the theory that she left the hotel on her own?...We remain very dubious.”
Mr Quoirin said the family does not question the information announced by Malaysian police.
“Her death was caused by a haemorrhage, as they said. But what were the conditions that led to it? The findings that were announced in no way discredit a criminal act. She could have been kidnapped and fed at the beginning. There is insufficient evidence to jump to definitive conclusions.”
Mr Quoirin said police in Malaysia told his brother, Nóra’s father Sébastien: “No hypothesis is excluded and they will investigate to the very end, to determine if there was a criminal cause.”
Separately, Charles Morel, the family’s lawyer, told France Info radio: “In view of the importance of Malaysia’s image for tourism, the authorities may tend to favour the theory of a disappearance over the criminal hypothesis.”