13th Aug 2019
An Irish teenager by the name of Nóra Quoirin has been on everyone’s minds this week, as she became the subject of an international search after going missing on a family holiday in Malaysia. With news breaking that her body has been found, we’re looking back at the case from the beginning, and what we know so far
Nóra Quoirin is a 15-year-old girl from London. Her mother, Meabh, is from Northern Ireland and her father Sebastien is French.
The Quoirins went on a family holiday to Malaysia on August 3 and were staying in a resort near Seremban, an area about an hour south of Kuala Lumpur.
On the morning of August 4, Nóra was reported missing after her father discovered that she was not in her bedroom at around 8 am. She had been sharing the upstairs room with two of her siblings.
Malaysian police initially said they did not suspect foul play in Nóra’s disappearance. On August 6, Nóra’s family revealed they thought she had been abducted, as it was very unusual for her to go anywhere on her own.
During the investigation, a team of 300 Malaysian searchers (aided by drones and sniffer dogs) scoured the area where Nóra went missing. They played recordings of Nóra’s mother’s voice during their search, in the hopes of attracting her attention.
On August 7, the police analysed unidentified fingerprints on the window frame of a downstairs room in the Quoirin’s hotel room.
On August 9, the police investigated whether footprints found in the forest around the resort belonged to Nóra. Assistant Director of Malaysian state fire and rescue department, Ahmad Mukhlis Mokhtar, told journalists: “Previously, our detective canines had spotted footprints, but when we conducted a search there, we couldn’t find her.”
Officers from the UK’s National Crime Agency, Scotland Yard and An Garda Síochána supported Malaysian police during the investigation.
On August 13, after a 10-day search, a body was found.
‘Very shy and can be quite anxious’
During the search for Nóra, her family revealed details about her personality and character, in an attempt to get information from the public. The Lucie Blackman Trust, a British charity that supports missing people abroad, issued a statement on behalf of Nóra’s family.
In the statement, it was revealed Nóra has learning and developmental difficulties, and that she suffers from a genetic condition called holoprosencephaly, which affects brain development.
Her parents described her as “a very special person” who is “fun, funny, and extremely loving”. The statement said family is Nóra’s “whole world”, and that outside the family, she “is very shy and can be quite anxious” and “is not independent and does not go anywhere alone”.
The family appealed to the public for any information and thanked the Royal Malaysian Police and everyone who had aided the search so far.
On August 12, Nóra’s parents offered a reward of £10,000 for any information on Nóra’s whereabouts. The reward was reportedly donated by an unnamed Belfast-based business to the family.
A body is found
Today, August 13, a body was found just over a mile (two kilometres) from the resort that Nóra went missing from.
Initially, it was reported that police were unable to confirm if the body was male or female and they planned to conduct a forensic examination. The Lucie Blackman Trust stated it was ‘likely’ the body was that of Nóra Quoirin. The BBC has reported that Nóra’s parents have identified the body as that of the teenager.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has tweeted about the discovery, saying: “At this harrowing time all of our thoughts and prayers are with the family”. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also commented, paying tribute to “everyone who searched for Nóra.”
Irish + French embassies in Malaysia working together to provide every assistance to the Quoirin family. Irish embassy is in touch with Malaysian authorities on today’s discovery of a body. At this harrowing time all of our thoughts + prayers are with the family.
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) August 13, 2019
Our thoughts & sincere condolences are with Nóra Quoirin’s parents, siblings & wider family at this unimaginably difficult time. They have experienced every family’s worst nightmare. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who searched for Nora. May she rest in peace.
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) August 13, 2019
Featured image: Nóra Quoirin, via the Lucie Blackman Trust
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