News Irish News

Saturday 17 August 2019

Gardaí join hunt for missing teen in Malaysia

Family reveals struggles Nora has faced in life

Undated handout photo supplied by the Lucie Blackman Trust on behalf of the family of Nora Quoirin. Family Handout/Lucie Blackman Trust/PA Wire
Undated handout photo supplied by the Lucie Blackman Trust on behalf of the family of Nora Quoirin. Family Handout/Lucie Blackman Trust/PA Wire
Search goes on: Family photos of Nora Quoirin who disappeared almost a week ago. Photos: Reuters

Allison Bray

Nora Quoirin's distraught family has revealed the missing teenager was brimming with excitement over their impending family holiday to Malaysia before she vanished from a resort in the rainforest almost a week ago.

It came as gardaí last night sent a liaison officer to Kuala Lumpur to assist the Department of Foreign Affairs and to liaise with Malaysian police and UK and French authorities to assist in the search for Nora.

In a statement issued yesterday by UK charity the Lucie Blackman Trust, the missing girl's family - including her mother Meabh from Belfast and French father Sebastien - spoke of the mental and physical challenges facing their 15-year-old daughter.

They also spoke of her loving, affectionate nature.

Born with a condition called holoprosencephaly - a brain birth defect that causes severe skull and facial deformities - they revealed their daughter has endured many surgeries since birth in order to function.

Despite the many hurdles she has faced in her life, they described her as a very special person.

"She is fun, funny and extremely loving. With her family, she is very affectionate. Family is her whole world and she loves to play games like 'Cat Bingo' with us," the statement said.

"She likes to tell us silly jokes and wear clever, colourful-shirts."

Nora had been "extremely excited" about the family holiday to Malaysia.

They also shed light on some traits of her personality and issues with her development that could potentially hinder her chances of survival in the jungle if she has wandered off or got lost.

She vanished from the bedroom she shared with two other siblings in the Dusun tropical rainforest eco resort about 60km from the capital Kuala Lumpur last Sunday morning.

"All her life she has spent a lot of time in hospital. When she was born, she needed operations to help her breathing," the statement said.

"Nora has always needed dedicated specialist educational provision and now attends a school for children and young people with leaning and communication difficulties."

Although she can speak English and French, her verbal skills are limited.

She is unable to use a telephone on her own, is able to walk but "her balance is limited and she struggles with coordination".

While she has been to Asia before, she has never wandered off or become lost.

However her social skills are limited, they revealed.

"Nora is very sensitive. Outside the family, Nora is very shy and can be quite anxious," the statement read.

It also reiterated how "she is not independent and does not go anywhere alone".

"She is not like other teenagers," it read.

The search for Nora ended its sixth day last night without success.

Police were yesterday checking phone records and emails of staff at the resort where she went missing as well as looking at buildings and chalets at the site.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News