French launch Nora Quoirin kidnapping probe as volunteer insists she must have been dumped at waterfall AFTER rescuers left as she was found lying in plain sight – The Sun
PROSECUTORS in France have begun a probe into whether Nora Quoirin has kidnapped before her body was found in the Malaysian jungle.
The 15-year-old's dad is French and the authorities there have opened an investigation after Nora's parents reportedly made a complaint alleging she was kidnapped.
The probe is being handled by the OCRVP division of the Police Nationale, which is responsible for fighting serious and organised crime, judicial sources told Franceinfo.com.
Two investigators from the OCRVP are currently in Malaysia and have joined with police officers from France and Ireland.
A lawyer representing the family in France told Le Parisien that the parents Sebastien, 47, and Meabh, 45, filed a complaint “for kidnapping" and are convinced her disappearance is of "criminal" origin.
They have begun to raise questions about whether cops may have missed Nora’s body in the hunt for her.
It comes as a volunteer hiker who was part of a group who found the body at a waterfall has revealed it must have been dumped at there after an initial sweep by search parties.
Her body was found by a group of 24 volunteer hikers in a ravine just over a mile from the Dusun eco-resort where the family were staying.
One of the group Sean Yeap said they set off to follow a trail on a palm oil plantation about 1.2miles from where Nora disappeared.
They came across met an Indian man who told them he was familiar with the area and would be able to help them.
A strong smell then led them to Nora’s to where they found body, at which point the party stood back and contacted the police as two in the group were overcome with emotion.
“It looked like she was sleeping. Her head was resting on her hands. But we all knew she was dead,” he told the MailOnline.
“It was very sad and two women in the group did not want to come close and they started crying.”
Nora’s parents are asking questions as to why police may have initially missed her body and if it could have been moved there at a later date.
The body was found in an area that had previously been searched, admitted Malaysia's Deputy Inspector General of Police Mazn Mazlan.
Mr Yeap, who is an insurance salesman, said the body was not covered by any foliage, though the area it was found is not easy to get to.
He revealed the body had a few bruises and scratches but not signs of any serious injury
“I could see the body. She was lying with her hands behind her head like you do when you go to sleep," he said.
“I am not sure, but I think she had been dead a few days. I think maybe she was elsewhere and walked to the stream perhaps to drink some water.”
The family’s spokesman Matthew Searle, of the Lucie Blackman Trust, said they still have “a large amount of questions”.
He said: “One of those questions is, has the body been there all the time or is there a criminal involvement? Was the body dumped there afterwards?”
Mr Mazlan confirmed a criminal investigation was still ongoing alongside a missing persons inquiry.
He said he could not comment on whether someone else could have been involved in the tragedy or whether Nora had suffered any injuries.
Speaking to France TV, Nora's grandad Sylvain Quoirin, said that the family has "collapsed" over the loss of their "pearl".
He said that his son and Nora's father, Sebastien, identified Nora by looking at her face.
"Sebastien was there, [they] showed him her face and he saw that it was Nora. It's her, for sure," he added.
"It's catastrophic, it's terrible. Sebastien is strong, despite everything, because he has to handle many problems. But I can tell you that they have collapsed. Everyone has collapsed. We lost a pearl, an innocent.
"These are moments [in life] that I do not wish anyone."
It is understood Nora had been wearing underwear when she went missing – but police said when she was found she was “completely naked”.
The family paid an emotional tribute to Nora after they identified a naked body found near an isolated jungle waterfall as being that of their daughter.
The devastating discovery came more than a week after Nora went missing on August 4.
Paying tribute to the teenager who had "truly touched the world", her family said: "The cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable. Our hearts are broken."
A statement from the devastated family thanked everyone who had helped search and tried their best to find their daughter.
They said: "We thank the local people here and those far and wide for their prayers and support at this time.
"Nora has brought people together, especially from France, Ireland, Britain and Malaysia, united in their love and support for her and her family.
"To all our friends and family at home, we can't thank you enough for all your love.
"Nora is at the heart of our family. She is the truest, most precious girl and we love her infinitely.
"We will always love our Nora."
They now face an agonising wait to to find out if her death was the result of an accident or crime.
He said the parents identified Nora's body at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital at around 7pm local time after it was taken there by helicopter.
The family's lawyer, Sankara Nair, said to media yesterday that the family was 'distraught and highly traumatised'.
A postmortem examination will take place Wednesday morning.
The officer who has been leading the hunt, Datuk Mazlan Mansor, earlier said Nora's body was discovered in a stream running through a ravine "and she was found completely naked”.
"The stream was about 1.2km deep in the ravine,” he said.
Nora's parents visited the site where the body was discovered, said the Lucie Blackman trust.
The teenager was discovered missing from her bedroom at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on the morning of Sunday August 4, with the window left open.
Her parents have always insisted their daughter, who was born with a debilitating brain condition, wouldn't have wandered off alone, so they believed she was abducted.
She was on family holiday with her sister Innes, 12, and brother Maurice, eight, at the time of her disappearance.
During the search for her they said in a statement: "Nora's family believe she has been abducted.
"We are especially worried because Nora has learning and developmental disabilities, and is not like other 15-year-olds.
"She looks younger, she is not capable of taking care of herself, and she won't understand what is going on.
"She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost."
The police believe Nora climbed out through a window but say any investigation would look at whether there was any "criminal element" in her disappearance.
A volunteer helping with the search said Nora had told her parents she was "excited" about seeing a waterfall.
Nora's parents are an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for about 20 years.
The teen had only arrived the day earlier with her parents and two siblings at the resort – in a nature reserve near Seremban, 39 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
It was the start of a two-week "trip of a lifetime", a family friend said.
The Dusun is a 12-acre orchard resort next to the Berembun Forest Reserve – 4,000 acres of protected virgin forest rising to 3,900 feet.
'TRIP OF A LIFETIME'
The forest has wild boar, deer, giant millipedes, monkeys and leeches, according to the resort's website.
There are two small villages near the resort where the majority of residents work in farming of the local land.
Nearly 350 people were involved in a massive search operation that included sniffer dogs, elite commando forces and thermal detectors.
Police officers from the UK, Ireland and France also went to Malaysia to help in the search.
Volunteer hikers were also among those who joined in the hunt for Nora.
Shamans were even brought in to pray for her safe return and video footage showed them praying cross legged on the jungle floor.
Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for the parents of Madeleine McCann, said there were parallels between Nora’s disappearance and that of the three-year-old in Portugal in 2007.
"My heart goes out to the family if this does indeed turn out to be Nora, as it is looking likely,” he told Good Morning Britain.
"This will now enable police and Nora's family to get some answers. The family faced trauma at the beginning of their holiday when Nora disappeared. There were parallels in that sense with Madeleine."
The desperate search for Nora
August 4: Nora is reported missing after her father discovers she is not in her bedroom at the Dusun Resort at around 8am on Sunday.
The window was also open in the room that Nora had been sharing with her two siblings.
August 5: Missing persons charity The Lucie Blackman Trust says that Malaysian police are treating Nora's disappearance as a potential abduction, but officers deny there is any foul play involved.
August 6: Nora's family say they believe her to have been abducted.
"She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost."
August 7: Police say they are analysing unidentified fingerprints an open window and in a downstairs hall found in the family's hotel suite.
August 9: Police investigate whether footprints found in the forest where Nora went missing belong to the missing teen. Her family say she wouldn't have wandered off on her own.
August 10: Nora's family thank the search teams involved since the teenager's disappearance.
August 11: Hundreds of rescuers still involved in the search operation a week after she disappeared.
August 12: A visibly emotional Mrs Quoirin makes a further appeal for her daughter to return home.
"Nora is our first child. She has been vulnerable since the day she was born.
"She is so precious to us and our hearts are breaking. We are appealing to anyone who has information about Nora to help us find her."
A reward of £10,000 – donated by an anonymous Belfast business – is made available for information leading to Nora's safe return.
August 13: A body is found and police said Nora's parents confirmed it was her .
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