Malaysian coroner to give inquest verdict in French-Irish teen's death

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) –


A Malaysian coroner will Monday deliver an inquest verdict into the death of a French-Irish teen whose body was found in the jungle after she went missing on a family holiday.

The body of Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, was discovered unclothed after a hunt through the rainforest following her disappearance from a resort outside Kuala Lumpur in 2019.

Police insist there was no foul play and an autopsy conducted in Malaysia found that she probably starved and died of internal bleeding after days in the jungle.

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.

Authorities sought to close the case but her parents pushed for the inquest, which took place from late August to December with proceedings streamed online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Police reiterated their belief 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.

Senior police official Mohamad Mat Yusop, among more than 40 witnesses who testified, told the inquest in Seremban city that "there was no indication the victim was kidnapped" and insisted authorities carried out a thorough search.

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.