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Nóra Quoirin has been missing since Sunday.
Nóra Quoirin has been missing since Sunday.
Image: LucieBlackmanTrust/Family

'We must remain hopeful': Family of missing Nóra Quoirin thanks public for support as search goes on

Nóra went missing while on a family holiday in the resort of Dusun in Malaysia.
Aug 7th 2019, 7:55 AM 74,278 37

Updated Aug 7th 2019, 7:58 PM

MALAYSIAN DIVERS LOOKING for missing 15-year-old Irish citizen Nóra Quoirin have scoured a nearby river as the search entered its fourth day. 

Nóra, who has special needs, went missing while on a family holiday in the resort of Dusun in Seremban, a short distance from the capital Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Nóra is the daughter of an Irish-French couple who have been living in London for around 20 years. Her family have said they suspect foul play following her disappearance. 

In a statement released this evening, they expressed their “deepest gratitude” to all those helping to find her.

“We are completely overwhelmed by the support we have received from all over the world,” the family said.

We must remain hopeful. And we ask everyone to keep Nóra in their thoughts, and to continue to support the ongoing search for her. Nóra is still missing, and she is very vulnerable, and we need to do everything we can to bring her home.

Search

Earlier, a police spokesperson had said: “We will try our best, we have not given up. But we think she hasn’t walked too far away from the area, she is still there.”

Police said earlier that they will focus their search on riverbeds near the resort and believe the teenager may seek out water. 

As the search entered its fourth day, a small team of divers searched a river running through the forest near the resort.

A helicopter, two drones, sniffer dogs and 214 people from various government agencies have already been deployed in the search for Nóra.

Che Zakaria Othman, deputy police chief of Negeri Sembilan state where the resort is located, said around 20 witnesses, including family members, had been interviewed.

Forensics experts were also able to take fingerprints from the window panel of Nóra’s bedroom but did not say who they belonged to.

“We are not ruling out any possibilities but so far we don’t have any information,” he added.

“We still believe she is in the area because there is no information that says she has left.”

‘Extremely mysterious’

Police have classified her disappearance as a missing person case but her grandfather, Sylvain Quoirin, has said that she had gone in “extremely mysterious” circumstances and was not in the habit of running off.

“In the morning, the window was open and she had disappeared,” Quoirin said by phone from Venisy, in north-central France.

“After an 18-hour flight and a seven-hour time difference you would sleep soundly and not go for a stroll at night,” he said.

Another of Nóra’s relatives told the Lucie Blackman Trust, a British charity that supports the families of British people who go missing abroad, that the family suspected foul play.

“Nora is a child with special needs and has learning and developmental disabilities which make her especially vulnerable and we fear for her safety,” her aunt Aisling Agnew said.

“Nora would not know how to get help and would never leave her family voluntarily. We now consider this a criminal matter,” she added. 

Malaysia UK Missing Schoolgirl A rescue team enter a forest to conduct a search operation for Nóra Quoirin. Source: Annice Lyn/PA Images

The Dusun is a 12-acre resort in the foothills of a mountain range and next to a forest reserve.

On Sunday, Nóra’s parents found her bedroom empty and the window open. On Monday the French foreign ministry said that it had “immediately intervened” after learning of her disappearance. 

The French ambassador to Kuala Lumpur contacted the Malaysian police authorities while the French consul travelled to the resort to support the missing girl’s family and help them liaise with investigators.

“We remain fully mobilised to ensure that everything is done to find our compatriot,” the ministry said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland confirmed it is “aware of the case and is providing consular assistance”.

Additional reporting from - © AFP 2019

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