'We need to do everything we can to bring her home' - Family of missing Irish schoolgirl Nora (15)
The parents of missing teenager Nora Anne Quoirin has thanked everyone who is trying to reunite them with their daughter.
The 15-year-old was reported missing on Sunday, a day after her family had arrived at the Dusun resort in Seremban, a town about 70 km (44 miles) south of Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur.
In a statement released this afternoon through the Lucie Blackman Trust, they said: "Nora’s family wish to express their deepest gratitude for the Royal Malaysian Police force, the search and rescue teams, and emergency services, for all they have done for us in this difficult time. We would like to thank our embassies, the local community, and the staff here at the hotel. And anyone else who has offered help to find Nora. We also welcome the assistance of the French, British and Irish police.
"We are completely overwhelmed by the support we have received from all over the world. This is extremely traumatic for the whole family. Meabh and Sebastien are devastated and too upset to speak themselves at this time.
"We are extremely thankful to The Lucie Blackman Trust for their ongoing support. They are handling all media enquiries for us and everything should be directed to them. Our family cannot face dealing with that at the moment. But we must remain hopeful. And we ask everyone to keep Nora in their thoughts, and to continue to support the ongoing search for her. Nora is still missing, and she is very vulnerable, and we need to do everything we can to bring her home."
Malaysian police questioned at least 20 people in the search for the Irish teenager who disappeared from a holiday resort this week, as more than 200 searchers, dogs and two drones scoured the surrounding thickly-forested area, police said on Wednesday.
Police interviewed Quoirin's family and resort staff, and swept the hotel room where she was last seen for fingerprints, police official Che Zakaria Othman told a news conference.
"Our forensics team has gone through the entire building, and the investigation process is still ongoing," added Che Zakaria, the deputy police chief of the state of Negri Sembilan, where Seremban is located.
Authorities deployed two drones for an aerial search over an area of 6 square km (2.3 square miles) around the resort, perched on the edge of a sprawling forest reserve.
More than 200 people are sweeping the area, assisted by canine units, police said, with a checkpoint also set up on the road to the resort.
Che Zakaria said police are still treating the disappearance as a missing persons case, but did not rule out the possibility that she may have been kidnapped.
Quoirin's family believe she was abducted and questioned Malaysian authorities' refusal to redesignate her case, media said. Reuters has been unable to contact the family. Che Zakaria said officials still believed she was somewhere in the area around the resort, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Quoirin, who has a learning disability, could not have gone far, he added.
"We still have hope of finding her," he said.