Nóra Quoirin: ‘It is not possible she would have willingly left with a stranger’

Grandfather of deceased girl believes she was victim of crime

Sylvain Quoirin, the grandfather of the deceased Franco-Irish schoolgirl Nóra Quoirin, whose body was found on Tuesday in Malaysia, believes she was the victim of a heinous crime and that other possible explanations for the 15 year old's death do not stand to reason.

In a telephone interview with The Irish Times, Mr Quoirin said “there are many dark areas that need to be cleared up for the family to be able to grieve in peace”.

The retired businessman (67) is the mayor of Venizy, a small town in Burgundy. He says Nóra’s character and the circumstances at the Dusun Resort, where the family were staying, make it impossible to believe she could have ventured out alone during the night of August 3rd to 4th.

Nóra suffered from a congenital birth defect called holoprosencephaly, or incomplete brain development, Mr Quoirin explained. She underwent several operations in infancy to enable her to breathe and attended a school for children with special needs.


“Her family was her entire universe,” he said. “She was very sensitive, shy, inhibited, introverted. She became anguished if her family weren’t present. She clung to her parents and sister. It is not possible she would have willingly left with a stranger. If she went out alone by mistake, she would have banged on the door and screamed to be let back in.”

Nóra had travelled often with her family, and never wandered. She was thrilled to be travelling to Malaysia with them, Mr Quoirin said.

Nóra “was proud of being able to speak French and English, though her ability to express herself was limited. She read like a beginner. Writing was very difficult for her… She could not answer the telephone or make a call on her own… She could not button her own clothes.”


The terrain in the resort is steep and stony, with rainforest just beyond. The ravine where Nora’s body was found is some 2km from the bungalow where the family was staying.

“Can you imagine her walking 2.5km, naked and barefoot, over rocks, in the middle of the night? For me, that’s absurd,” Mr Quoirin said.

It was too hot to sleep in pyjamas, he explained. Furthermore, the resort is enclosed by gates and fences. It was impossible for his granddaughter to have left on her own, he added.

He said the family had just flown 18 hours to reach Malaysia, where there is a seven-hour time difference with their home in London, and Nóra was the most exhausted of them.

“Do you think she would go walking around at night? For me, it is obviously a criminal case, by default. She could not have wandered.”

Postmortem results

Police had repeatedly searched the area where Nóra’s body was found.

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

He has seen the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian several times since his granddaughter disappeared, and has been assured that Malaysian authorities will cooperate with the French, who have launched an investigation for kidnapping and sequestration.

He expressed confidence in Malaysian forensic scientists, but said he was surprised that the body was taken to the town of Seremban, rather than the capital Kuala Lumpur, some 70km away. He said he hoped technical means in Seremban would be up to standard.

Nóra's family will leave Malaysia within days, Mr Quoirin said. If the postmortem results indicate a criminal cause of death, the child's body will have to remain for further tests. Her parents have not decided whether she will be buried in France or Ireland.