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Sunday 18 August 2019

'Nora darling, I love you, Mum is here' - heartbreaking family message played in search for Irish teen in Malaysia


Nora Quoirin with her mother Meabh
Nora Quoirin with her mother Meabh
Nora Quoirin

Allison Bray

The heart-wrenching message "Nora darling, I love you, Mum is here" reverberated over megaphones in the Malaysian jungle as the search for missing teenager Nora Quoirin entered its fifth day.

But as darkness fell over the Dusun tropical rainforest last night, there was still no sign of the 15-year-old girl who vanished from the eco-resort about 60km from the capital Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

The teenager, whose mother Meabh is from Belfast, went missing from the upstairs bedroom she shared with two siblings at the resort on Sunday morning. Her French father Sebastien Quoirin made the discovery that she was gone.

A massive search involving around 200 personnel has failed to yield any clues to her disappearance, which Malaysian police have categorised as a missing persons case.

They have not ruled out a more sinister, possibly criminal, motive.

Acting on the theory that the teenager - who has learning difficulties and developmental delays - wandered into the jungle and got lost, police recorded her mother's reassuring message and broadcast it over megaphones into the jungle.

But by sunset, which fell shortly before 7.30pm local time last night, Malaysian police said they had "nothing positive to report".

Nora's parents believe she may have been abducted because it would be entirely out of character for the very shy and introverted girl "who never goes anywhere by herself" to venture out on her own. They issued a fresh appeal on Wednesday for any information.

Search operation: Hundreds have joined the search for Nora. MAIN PHOTO: Mohd RASFAN/AFP/GETTY
Search operation: Hundreds have joined the search for Nora. MAIN PHOTO: Mohd RASFAN/AFP/GETTY

Local tribespeople specialised in tracking also joined the search team as they trekked through the rainforest shouting her name.

The search team used the recording in the hope that a familiar voice might draw Nora out if she is in the jungle.

"This morning when we went out, we played the recording using loud hailers," said Mohamad Mat Yusop, police chief of southern Negeri Sembilan state.

Voices of other family members had also been recorded and would be used, he said.

Nora Quoirin
Nora Quoirin

Police say they believe Nora is still in the area of jungle where the search is focused.

They are focusing their enquiries around the theory she may have left the resort of her own accord and could now be stranded in a small 6.5 square-kilometre area of rainforest.

A helicopter with thermal imaging equipment is being deployed, joining the 267 people, divers, drones and sniffer dogs already involved in the search.

About 20 people, including Nora's family and resort staff, have been questioned by police. Fingerprints taken from a window frame at the resort are also being analysed.

Meanwhile, Nora's aunts Aisling and Éadaoin Agnew from Belfast and her uncle Michael Agnew have joined the Quoirin family in Malaysia.

Éadaoin Agnew has urged supporters to stay positive.

"We ask everyone to keep Nora in their thoughts, and to continue to support the ongoing search for her," she said in a video released by the UK charity the Lucie Blackman Trust.

It is acting as a liaison between the media and the family, who are not giving any press interviews at this time.

"Nora is still missing, and she is very vulnerable, and we need to do everything we can to bring her home," she said.

She described how Nora's disappearance has left the family deeply traumatised.

Irish Independent

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