Nóra Quoirin probably died of starvation and stress, police say

Family stress need for police to continue investigating possibilty she was abducted

Police in Malaysia have said Franco-Irish teenager Nóra Quoirin probably died of starvation and stress after spending a week in the jungle. Video: Reuters

 

Police in Malaysia have said Franco-Irish teenager Nóra Quoirin probably died of starvation and stress after spending a week in the jungle.

They said a postmortem on her body found no evidence of foul play.

The 15-year-old girl’s unclothed body was found in the Malaysian jungle on Tuesday following a 10-day search operation.

She went missing from the Dusun rainforest resort where she was staying with her family on August 4th.

Police also said there was no evidence she had been sexually assaulted and there was also no evidence “for the time being” to indicate she was a victim of kidnapping.

Negeri Sembilan police chief Mohamad Mat Yusof said pathologists found there was internal bleeding from Nóra’s intestine and she had a perforated duodenal ulcer. The internal bleeding was most likely caused by hunger and stress, he said.

Pathologists have dated the teenager’s death as two or three days before her body was found.

There was no evidence of violence, the police chief said. There were scratches on her legs.

Police had previously said Nóra, whose mother Meabh is from Belfast and whose father Sébastien is French and who was travelling on an Irish passport, was believed to have climbed out of her resort room window.

French relatives of the teenager have said the postmortem results are inconclusive and stress the need to continue to investigate the possibility that she was the victim of a criminal act.

Criminal hypothesis

“It is important that the criminal hypothesis not be excluded on the basis of incomplete information,” Nóra’s uncle, Pacôme Quoirin, a graphic designer, said in a telephone interview.

The results of toxicology tests are not yet available.

“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?” he asked. “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, that “no hypothesis is excluded and they will investigate to the very end, to determine if there was a criminal cause.”

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.”

Speaking separately on RTÉ radio’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan show, Mr Morel said the family are determined to find out how she died.

“They want to find out the truth, they owe her that,” he said.

“The family still finds it difficult to understand that she would have gone into the jungle on her own. They are concerned that she did not leave on her own. They cannot understand how she could leave by herself.”

Traumatised

He said that he knew the family was traumatised by what had happened. “They loved their daughter very much, she was an angel.”

No decision has been reached by the family about when they will return to Europe. Nóra’s remains can be returned to Europe now, said Mr Morel, they do not have to wait for the DNA results.

On Wednesday, Nóra’s French grandfather said he believes “someone put” the teenager’s body in the place where she was found.

Sylvain Quoirin told The Irish Times he believes the circumstances surrounding Nóra’s death are a criminal matter.

The ravine where her unclothed body was found, some 2.5km from the rainforest resort where she was staying with her family, had previously been searched a number of times.

“She wasn’t there yet [during previous searches]. Someone put her there, to get rid of her,” Mr Quoirin said.

A reward of 50,000 Malaysian ringgit (about €10,700) had been offered on the day before her body was found. Nóra, her parents and two younger siblings arrived at the Dusun rainforest resort on August 3rd.

Search crews looking for the teenager played her mother’s voice in the dense Malaysian forest near where she disappeared.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s king and queen have expressed their sadness about Nóra’s death.

“Their Majesties were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of young Nóra’s Anne Quoirin,” the Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said in a statement on Thursday.

He said the king and queen also expressed their condolences and utmost sympathy to Nóra’s parents and siblings and her extended family.

Mr Ahmad Fadil also said that Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah thanked the search and rescue team and the volunteers involved in the search for the teenager.

He said that the king also thanked the British, French, and Irish authorities for the support they had provided. “His majesty advises the public not to speculate on the case until the police investigation is completed.”