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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 24 September 2020

Police in Malaysia extend search for missing Irish citizen Nóra Quoirin

The search for the teenage girl has entered its fifth day.

nora-6 Nóra Quoirin Source: Family/Lucie Blackman Trust

THERE HAVE BEEN no positive leads to date in the search for Nóra Quoirin, police in Malaysia have said at a press conference.

The search area has been extended and over 260 people are now involved in the operation, as the search for the missing 15-year-old Irish citizen entered its fifth day.

Police are searching forests and rivers as part of the operation. They also want to use a recording of Nóra’s mother’s voice in a bid to locate her.

Police have confirmed they are liaising with Interpol about the case.

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.

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

Her mother Meabh, who is from Belfast, and her father Sebastien issued a fresh appeal yesterday.

In a statement, 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.

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,” they said.

Malaysia UK Missing Schoogirl A member of the search and rescue team pictured at a forest in Seremban today. Source: Lai Seng Sin/AP/Press Association Images

Jim Gamble, a retired Northern Irish police officer and former chief executive of the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that a number of possibilities must be explored – that Nóra is lost, was harmed in some way or has been abducted.

“There is a strong chance that she could be lost, could be unconscious, could be caught in undergrowth somewhere,” Gamble said.

“She may have wandered off, but her family are right to question this, they know their daughter,” he added.

‘Extremely mysterious’

Police have classified Nóra’s disappearance as a missing person case but her grandfather, Sylvain Quoirin, said she had vanished 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 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 Schoogirl Police looking for Nóra Quoirin in Malaysia today. Source: Lai Seng Sin/AP/Press Association 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 confirmed it is “providing consular assistance”.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2019  

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Órla Ryan

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