MALAYSIAN cops have admitted “inexperienced” searchers looking for Nora Quoirin may have missed vital clues in the ten day hunt for the British teenager.
The body of the 15-year-old with severe learning difficulties was found on Tuesday near a waterfall less than two miles away from the Dusun eco-resort where she was on holiday with her parents Meabh and Sebastien and her siblings.
An autopsy stated the teenager died of stress and starvation.
Nora’s body was found on Tuesday after the area had already been scoured in the early days of the search, although police have suggested she may have wandered there from another part of the jungle area.
One officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Mail on Sunday: “The searchers included people who were inexperienced and got tired quickly in the hot and humid conditions and didn’t always walk at arm’s length from each other.
“We can’t blame them because it was the first time for many of these searchers working for so many hours in these conditions and water and food supplies were limited. Overall, I think they did a good job despite incredibly arduous conditions.”
Another officer, who also did not want to be named, told the paper the area where Nora was found is still being investigated by forensic experts to see if there were any signs Nora was abducted or assaulted before her death.
The officer added: “We have found no evidence to support a criminal element so far and we are continuing to examine the area where she was found for clues. Locals are also being interviewed.
“The circumstances surrounding her death remain a complete mystery. Nora was barefoot and dressed only in her underwear when she disappeared from an open hall window of her holiday bungalow on the first night of the family’s holiday.
“Sniffer dogs only picked up her trail about 100 metres from the lodge, and how a child with special needs could have walked nearly two miles into dense forest and through a steep ravine is mystifying.
“Everyone is very upset and we have agonised over how she ended up in a waterfall area that had been combed by search teams in the first seven days.”
The desperate search for Nora
August 4: Nora is reported missing after her father discovers she is not in her bedroom at the Dusun Resort at around 8am on Sunday.
The window was also open in the room that Nora had been sharing with her two siblings.
August 5: Missing persons charity The Lucie Blackman Trust says that Malaysian police are treating Nora's disappearance as a potential abduction, but officers deny there is any foul play involved.
August 6: Nora's family say they believe her to have been abducted.
"She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost."
August 7: Police say they are analysing unidentified fingerprints an open window and in a downstairs hall found in the family's hotel suite.
August 9: Police investigate whether footprints found in the forest where Nora went missing belong to the missing teen. Her family say she wouldn't have wandered off on her own.
August 10: Nora's family thank the search teams involved since the teenager's disappearance.
August 11: Hundreds of rescuers still involved in the search operation a week after she disappeared.
August 12: A visibly emotional Mrs Quoirin makes a further appeal for her daughter to return home.
"Nora is our first child. She has been vulnerable since the day she was born.
"She is so precious to us and our hearts are breaking. We are appealing to anyone who has information about Nora to help us find her."
A reward of £10,000 – donated by an anonymous Belfast business – is made available for information leading to Nora's safe return.
August 13: A body is found and police said Nora's parents confirmed it was her .
August 14: An initial post-mortem examination inconclusive
August 15: Post-mortem finds that Nora died of intestinal bleeding after a stomach ulcer burst, probably caused by hunger and stress.
The comments come after a volunteer member of the search team said it would have been "impossible" for the barefoot 15-year-old to cross the dense jungle on her own.
Nora suffered from physical and mental difficulties – making it extremely unlikely that she would have ended up near the ravine without any help.
The treacherous gradients and dense vegetation surrounding the place where Nora was found would have been "impossible" for her to reach.
This new information has generated even more doubt over the police theory that she reached the site alone after wandering off from her family's holiday chalet.
While the authorities have ruled out any foul play, her family are insistent that she couldn't have walked out on her own.
The volunteer, who is an expert on the area surrounding the remote Lata Berembum waterfall, said: "Nora couldn’t have got there by herself.
"I struggled to walk. The path is difficult even for an able-bodied person.
"Dense vegetation snags your feet. The average gradient of the slopes where Nora was found range from 20 to 40 per cent.
"You have to cross two reasonably deep streams to reach the area where she was found.
"The terrain by the stream is very slippery. The roots and rocks are wet.
"My boots were destroyed by the end and Nora was barefoot.
"I can’t imagine how she could have walked to the place where she was found."
Nora’s family have consistently said they can't believe she walked out on her own – and this new information has brought more speculation to the theory.
Nora – who had learning difficulties – was reported missing by her parents Meabh, 45, and Sebastien, 47, at 8am Sunday August 4.
Two days later, local police were told a “white girl” had been spotted swimming in a nearby river the afternoon she went missing but were said to be unsure whether to believe the eyewitness.
Nora wandered around the jungle for a week before her body was found by volunteer hiker – three days after she died – and the family’s lawyer has said it is possible she would have met someone in that time.
It has been claimed Malaysian police made five key blunders in the hunt for Nora and that she could have been saved.
Child protection expert Jim Gamble who has been advising Nora's family told Sky News that there are still questions to be answered about the teen’s disappearance and death.
He said the Malaysian authorities should keep an open mind despite them insisting Nora’s death wasn’t the result of foul play.
Gamble, the former chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, also told the BBC's Breakfast said the cottage window where the family was faulty and could not have been locked and could have been opened from the outside.
'TAMPERED WITH HER BODY'
A post-mortem examination found she died from internal bleeding in her intestine after a stomach ulcer burst, following a period of prolonged hunger and stress.
Grandad Sylvain Quoirin, 67, has claimed that “someone tampered with her body” believing she was dumped at the waterfall by sinister forces in an attempt to “get rid of her” and called for a fresh criminal investigation.
Retired businessman Sylvain told The Irish Times: "She wasn’t there yet [during previous searches]. Someone put her there.
“Can you imagine her walking 2.5km, naked and barefoot, over rocks, in the middle of the night? For me, that’s absurd."
He added: “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.”
Mr Quoirin insisted there were “dark areas that need to be cleared up for the family to be able to grieve in peace”.
Police in Malaysia have also arrested a 29-year-old man after he posted on social media alleging Nora had been raped by a local tribesman.
Nora was on "trip of a lifetime" with her family including sister Innes, 12 and brother Maurice, eight, at the time of her disappearance.
The teen had only arrived the day earlier with her parents and two siblings at the resort in a nature reserve near Seremban, 39 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Nora's parents are an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for about 20 years.
Her family paid tribute to the youngster and also thanked people across the world for their support.
"Nora is at the heart of our family. She is the truest, most precious girl and we love her infinitely. We will always love our Nora."
Source: Read Full Article