by Patrick Lee
A French-Irish teenager with learning difficulties died by “misadventure” after disappearing in the Malaysian jungle on a family holiday and there was no sign she was murdered or sexually assaulted, a coroner ruled Monday.
The body of Nora Quoirin, 15, was discovered unclothed after a hunt through the rainforest following her disappearance from a resort outside Kuala Lumpur in 2019.
But her parents think she was abducted, saying the teen would never have climbed out of the window of the chalet where they were staying in the dead of night, as police believe.
However, following an inquest in Malaysia, Coroner Maimoonah Aid said there was no sign the teen had been murdered or sexually assaulted, and ruled she died by “misadventure”.
“It is more probable than not that she died by misadventure.”
The inquest, which ran from late August to December, heard from over 40 witnesses and was streamed online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During proceedings, police reiterated their view the teen had wandered off alone from the Dusun resort in August 2019, a day after checking in for a holiday with her London-based family.
They defended their approach, insisting a thorough search was conducted.
But her parents, who testified via video-link from Britain, painted a different picture, strongly criticising authorities for their response to their daughter’s disappearance.
Her mother Meabh said police were slow to launch a full-scale search and did not take her concerns about potential criminal involvement seriously.
Her father Sebastien also said he heard mysterious “muffled noises” coming from the chalet the night of the schoolgirl’s disappearance, fuelling the family’s belief she was snatched.
The search lasted 10 days and expanded to include hundreds of rescuers, helicopters and sniffer dogs, before the teen’s body was found in a ravine not far from the resort.
The five-hectare (12-acre) site is next to a patch of thick jungle and in the foothills of a mountain range.
The teen had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, where the brain fails to develop normally. She had limited verbal communication and could only write a few words.
She attended a school for young people with learning difficulties.
© Agence France-Presse