Northern Ireland news

Prayers offered as body of missing teenager Nora Quoirin found in Malaysian jungle

Nora Quoirin's body has been found in Malaysia 
Marie Louise McConville

A post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out in Malaysia today in an effort to find out how a missing Irish teenager - who's body was found 10 days after she was reported missing - died.

The body of Nora Quoirin, whose mother, Meabh is from Belfast, was found by a team of search volunteers yesterday just over a mile from the Dunsun Eco-Resort on the edge of the Malysian rainforest, an hour from Kuala Lumper.

The family had arrived at the resort for a two-week holiday last Saturday.

When the 15-year-old's father went to check on his eldest daughter last Sunday morning, she was missing from her bedroom at the holiday cottage.

A huge search operation unfolded with more than 300 volunteers taking part, scouring dense jungle for the teenager, who had learning difficulties.

Rescuers walk in plantation as they conduct a search and rescue operation for Nora Quoirin. (AP Photo)

Police had been treating the disappearance as a missing person case despite claims by her family that she had been abducted.

Malaysian police said the only exit used from the property had been an large open window in the kitchen of the property on the ground floor.

Yesterday, a team of search volunteers found the teenager's remains beside a small stream around 1.6 miles from the resort.

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Her remains were winched by helicopter to a hospital mortuary, where her family later identified her.

Mazlan Mansor, National deputy police chief, told press that when found, Nora's remains were "not in any clothings", adding that while it remained a missing persons case, police were looking into all possibilities including the "angle of criminal investigation".

A senior pathologist is today expected to travel from Kuala Lumper to Seremban to carry out a post-mortem examination on the teenager's remains in a bid to find a cause of death.

Just hours before Nora was found, prayers for her and her family had been offered in a south Belfast church, where her family have strong links.

Rescuers are briefed as they conduct a search and rescue operation for a Nora Quorin. Picture by AP

Fr Edward O'Donnell, parish priest of St Brigid's Church in south Belfast - where Nora was baptised - told those gathered that the teenager was "a child of our faith community".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described what had happened as "every family's worst nightmare".

He tweeted: "Our thoughts & sincere condolences are with Nora Quoirin's parents, siblings & wider family at this unimaginably difficult time. They have experienced every family's worst nightmare. I'd like to pay tribute to everyone who searched for Nora. May she rest in peace".

Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, said he offered his "deepest condolences" to Nora's family.

"On behalf of the people of Ireland, I would also like to express my gratitude for the assistance given by the Malaysian authorities in the search for Nora, for the volunteers who answered the call to join the search and for all those throughout Malaysia, Ireland, Britain and France who offered what support they could.

"Our thoughts and prayers are now with Nora's family, at this most difficult time."

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said: "My heart is broken for the family of Nora Quoirin. I cannot begin to imagine their grief.

"What started as a holiday of a lifetime has ended in this unimaginable tragedy. I wish to offer my deepest condolences to Nora's family and loved ones at this sad time."

In a joint tweet, Jean-Yves Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs and secretary of state for Europe, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said: "The French authorities are at the disposition of the Malaysian authorities so that light can be shed on the circumstances of her death."

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