A vulnerable Franco-Irish teen who disappeared from a Malaysian rainforest resort likely starved and died of internal bleeding, with no immediate sign of foul play, police said Thursday.
Nora Quoirin, 15, is thought to have died two or three days ago after a week in the jungle, and there was no indication she was abducted or assaulted, police said, citing the results of an autopsy.
Her unclothed body was discovered Tuesday in a ravine in dense jungle following a 10-day hunt involving hundreds of people, helicopters and sniffer dogs.
She went missing from the Dusun Resort, not far from Kuala Lumpur, on August 4, a day after checking in for a holiday with her London-based family.
Her family believed the teen, who had learning difficulties, had been abducted but police classified her disappearance as a missing persons case.
Speaking after the post-mortem examination, Negeri Sembilan state police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop told reporters the teen suffered “bleeding in her intestines due to not eating” as well as “extreme stress”.
“For the time being, there is no suspicion of foul play,” he said. She had some scratches on her body after days in the jungle but there was no indication she was sexually assaulted or kidnapped, he added.
Her body was airlifted by helicopter out of the ravine — about 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) from the resort — and transported to hospital in Seremban town where her relatives identified it.
Medics conducted a long autopsy Wednesday, starting in the morning and only finishing late at night, as a media pack waited outside the hospital for news.
In a statement released Wednesday by The Lucie Blackman Trust, a charity that supports relatives of British people missing overseas, her relatives said she was the “heart” of the family.
“She is the truest, most precious girl and we love her infinitely. The cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable. Our hearts are broken. We will always love our Nora.”
While insisting it was a missing persons case, police vowed to investigate every angle. They questioned witnesses and investigated witness accounts of a truck heard early on the morning the girl disappeared.
A group of volunteers who were part of the search and rescue team found the body after being tipped off by a member of the public.
It was discovered in the official search zone, in an area that the team had previously covered.
On Monday, the family had offered a 50,000 ringgit (USD 11,900) reward, donated by a Belfast business, for information that could lead to her return.
The five-hectare (12-acre) resort where the teenager disappeared is next to a patch of thick jungle and in the foothills of a mountain range.
Her family had said it was extremely unlikely the reserved youngster would have wandered off on her own.
She had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, where the brain fails to develop normally. She had limited verbal communication and could only write a few words.
She attended a school for young people with learning and communication difficulties.