The mother of an Irish-French teenager, whose body was found last year near a Malaysian jungle resort where she vanished while on holiday, said her daughter may have been abducted, telling an inquest she heard “muffled and whispering” sounds on the morning she disappeared.
Meabh Quoirin said evidence into the disappearance of her daughter, Nora, may have also been lost because police were slow to act on the possibility that the 15-year-old could have been abducted.
Ms Quoirin believed she heard muffled and whispering sounds of two people inside the family’s cottage the morning Nora disappeared, but that she took no action because she was asleep and not fully conscious at the time.
Ms Quoirin, who is Irish, also said police were more focused on search and rescue, and only started looking for fingerprints and interviewing resort staff several days later, by which time many people had passed through the property.
She said that the police officer sent to take her statement also struggled to communicate effectively in English and that she had to explain herself repeatedly.
She claimed some senior police officials who later approached her were also “quite rude and arrogant telling her to be calm and let police do their job”.
She told the inquest: “My own understanding was that the dominant commitment was in search and rescue, and it took a long time to mobilise and explore any criminal route.”
Speaking via video conferencing from her London home, she added: “I believe that criminal evidence, if it existed, would have been lost during that time.”
Nora’s disappearance from her family’s cottage at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on August 4 last year, a day after her family arrived for their holiday, sparked a massive search.
Her naked body was found on August 13 beside a stream in a palm oil estate about 2.5km from the resort.
Police have told the inquest that an investigation showed no criminal element, and that there was no indication Nora had been abducted.
Police believe Nora climbed out of a window on her own, and the autopsy showed she succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.
But Meabh and her French husband, Sebastien Quoirin, say Nora was kidnapped. They believe that because she had mental and physical disabilities she couldn’t have wandered off on her own.
‘TWO PEOPLE WHISPERING’
The emotional mum broke down at one point during her four hours of testimony.
She spoke at length about Nora’s disability, saying it would be almost impossible for her daughter, who weighed only 30km, to push open and climb out a window with her limited strength and disability.
The inquest heard that the window couldn’t be locked because the latch was broken and that the children slept in the loft, while she and her husband were in the master bedroom downstairs.
Ms Quoirin said her younger daughter woke up near dusk to go to the bathroom and noticed that Nora was already missing, but thought she had gone to sleep with her parents.
She said that at one point during the night she was aware of muffled sounds inside, “like two people whispering”.
She added: “I was in between sleeping and being awake, so I wasn’t really processing my thoughts normally … it caused me no alarm because I wasn’t fully conscious.”
Ms Quoirin said Nora wouldn’t necessarily have cried for help because she was highly submissive which could prove why there were no markings of struggle on her body.
She added: “She would just be silent and stare at the floor and close in on herself.”
She noted that the area where Nora was found had been repeatedly searched, and that given the steep and hilly terrain, her body was in fairly good condition, with only minor bruises and scratches.
She said: “Why does her state of body not reflect that of someone constantly moving or exposed to the harshest of elements?
“I don’t want to speculate on the motivation of the abduction.
“It is possible and reasonable to believe that any plan that was conceived at any point may have to change by the sheer volume of attention focused on Nora’s case.
“I believe that Nora could have subsequently been released by her captors.”
Her husband is due to testify on Thursday. Nora’s two siblings will also testify in private. Later this month, a British doctor who conducted a second autopsy on the teen’s body will also testify remotely.
The Quoirin family has sued the resort owner for alleged negligence. They said in their lawsuit that there was no security at the resort and that a cottage window with a broken latch was found ajar the morning Nora disappeared.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission