The parents of a vulnerable teenage girl whose body was found after 10 days missing in Malaysia last August are demanding answers after authorities this week appeared to close the case.
Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of 15-year-old Nora, from Streatham, said they were “shocked” by the decision of the Malaysian Attorney General’s Chambers (ATC) to classify the case as ‘no further action’.
Nora’s body was found on August 13 down a steep ravine in the jungle, after a 10-day search.
Nora was barefoot and just in underwear when she went missing. Her body was eventually discovered in a stream more than a mile from the resort by a team of local hikers.
The area was highly inaccessible and the body had to be winched out by a helicopter before being brought to Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital for the post-mortem.
In a statement, Nora’s parents said: “We have today learned that the AGC of Malaysia has classified Nora’s case as “no further action”. This essentially means that, at this time, there will be no inquest. We are shocked by this decision, not least because it is based on a preliminary report from the coroner’s office.
“To date, we have only received a short explanation from the pathologists who conducted the post-mortem in Malaysia which confirmed the cause of death as gastro-intestinal bleeding and an ulcer (likely brought on by starvation and/or stress).
“We must emphasise, however, that this is only a brief extract of what will be the full post-mortem report, which is as yet still unavailable. It is critical that we receive this report. It may reveal other significant details that contributed to Nora’s death, such as why a severe ulcer was triggered so quickly in her body. It is moreover utterly unacceptable that we have not received a single update from Malaysia since Nora’s death.”
Police in Malaysia used specialist teams, with 250 officers and hundreds of volunteers to try and find her.
The family, including Nora’s Irish-French parents, and her younger brother and sister, arrived at the resort near Seremban, about 40 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, on August 4.
Her father raised the alarm the following morning when Nora was missing from her bedroom, with the window open.
Her parents said she would need a lot of care, whoever she was with. She could wash and dress herself, but she could not manage buttons, and struggled to wash her hair.
Nora was born with holoprosencephaly – she had a smaller brain.
She needed operations to help her breathing in early life. She always needed dedicated specialist schooling.
The parents’ statement continued: “The AGC’s decision prevents justice being done. As we have stressed from the beginning of this case, it is crucial to understand how Nora came to be found where she was.
“As a vulnerable child, with significant physical and mental challenges, we strongly refute any conclusion that Nora was alone for the entire duration of her disappearance. We have repeatedly asked the police to clarify answers to our questions in this regard – and we have been repeatedly ignored.
“This stands in stark contrast with the promise of transparency that we received from the Deputy Prime Minister and other prominent officials whom we met in Malaysia.
“We believe it is a democratic human right to seek the truth. We have witnessed how our most vulnerable citizens in this world are all too often ignored and we are now facing considerable prejudice in our search for answers.
“We cannot believe, nor understand why any modern economy would label such a harrowing and mysterious case NFA without full process and the total refusal to communicate with us is both insulting and unfathomable.
“Our governments in France and Ireland support our demands for justice. We therefore now appeal directly to the highest levels of Malaysian government as well as the Attorney General’s office to assist our quest for the truth.”
The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been assisting the family since Nora’s disappearance, was shocked at the news. Trust chief executive Matthew Searle said: “It seems unbelievable that, in a case that looks so complex and currently unexplained, that any authority could effectively close it down without even waiting for full reports.
“The idea that Nora went off, on her own, seems incredibly unlikely. This family need answers and at least deserve an investigation to the greatest lengths available. We are urgently seeking answers from various authorities – Nora’s death needs to be explained.”
Anyone wishing to donate in Nóra’s memory can do so here.
Pictured top is Nora, courtesy of the family and the Lucie Blackman Trust