One year ago – on August 13 – the body of Franco-Irish teenager Nóra Quoirin was found in a Malaysian jungle about two kilometres from the Dusun resort where she had been staying with her parents and two younger siblings. She had been missing for ten days.
A group of hikers who volunteered to join the search discovered Nóra’s body in an area that had already been scoured many times in a massive operation involving more than three hundred people.
Nóra’s parents, Meabh and Sebastien, have been convinced since the day she disappeared that their daughter was abducted. They are sure that she could not have reached the spot where she was found on her own.
“Within two minutes of discovering that she wasn’t there, I felt she’d been abducted,” Meabh said. “This was before I could even absorb what was really happening. I just knew.”
Fifteen-year-old Nóra was a vulnerable girl with special needs who wouldn’t even go out of her own front door by herself.
Myriad questions remain about Nóra’s disappearance and death. Now that an inquest will finally be held in Malaysia, the Quoirins hope that at least some of them will be answered.
“What we’re looking for is an acknowledgement of the numerous possibilities, and a far greater emphasis on who Nóra was and why it is just impossible to believe certain theories about what might have happened to her.
“What we want is that no family would ever go through what we’ve had to go through.”
Yesterday (Thursday), the Malaysian coroner, Maimoonah Aid, along with members of her team, police, and lawyers, visited the Dusun and inspected the place where Nóra’s body was found.
Sixty-six people are due to give evidence at the inquest, scheduled to start on August 24.
A year on, the Quoirins say they are coping as well as can be expected. “We’ve had a lot of support from family, friends, professionals, and strangers who continue to write to us and visit Nóra’s grave, but, in the end, I’m still absolutely devastated,” Meabh said.
The Quoirins say they don’t want foul play to be ruled out at the inquest. The lack of evidence that proves there was foul play doesn’t mean that that there wasn’t any, Meabh says.
“For us it’s important that the case stays open in case someone speaks up in the future,” Sebastien said.
One question that has not been answered is whether Nora died where she was found or her body was moved there.
My full, in-depth article is in The Irish Times.