true crime

Last weekend, Nora vanished during a family holiday. She's being called the new Maddie McCann.

On Saturday, the Quoirin family arrived in Malaysia for a family holiday.

Mum, Meabh, and dad, Sebastien, an Irish-French couple from London, and their three children, travelled to the Dusun eco-resort, 63 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur.

They had planned to stay for two weeks.

But by Sunday, their 15-year-old daughter, Nora, had vanished.

The British teenager, who has learning and developmental disabilities, disappeared from her upstairs bedroom in the middle of the night.

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According to police she was sharing the bedroom with her two siblings, but no one saw Nora leave the room or walk out of the resort.

While it was initially ruled that there was no foul play involved, police are now investigating the case as a potential abduction.

“Although we classified this case as a missing person but we are not ruling out any possibility… the scale of investigation and the search and rescue is very big for a small place here,” Negeri Sembilan deputy police chief Che Zakaria Othman told a news conference this week.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Nora’s family said they believed she had met with foul play.

“Nora’s family believe she has been abducted,” the statement read. “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.”

Members of the Senoi Praq, a special police team comprising indigenous tribes famed for their forest tracking skills, combed the dense forest surrounding the resort on Thursday. As they searched they called out Nora’s name, and played recordings of Nora’s mum’s voice through loudspeakers, but they found no trace of the teenager.

Her case is now being compared to that of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who disappeared from a holiday resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

Investigators in that case believe Madeleine was abducted and carried out of the holiday villa through an open window in her bedroom.

In Nora’s case, investigators found an open window in the downstairs living area. They dusted for fingerprints and found “unknown prints” on and around the window.

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“Only the glass window exit was used. We are certain about this,” a police officer told Malaysian media on Thursday.

Police have not confirmed yet whether the window could have been opened from the outside.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Matthew Searle of the Lucie Blackman Trust (LBT) told The Sun Online: “She would not have been able to open the window on her own, and it was found propped open.

“They also know Nora would not walk off anywhere on her own.”

Nora Quoirin
Nora hasn't been seen since Sunday. Image: Facebook.

Nora's grandfather, Sylvain Quoirin, described her as "very shy, very reserved, very fearful".

"In my opinion, the adventure escapade line of inquiry is not at all valid," he told the BBC.

Despite there being no sightings of the teenager, her family is still holding out hope that she will be found safe and well.

They released a statement on Wednesday, expressing their “deepest gratitude” to the Royal Malaysia Police and others helping the search.

“We would like to thank our embassies, the local community, and the staff here at the hotel and anyone else who has offered help to find Nora. We also welcome the assistance of the French, British and Irish police," the statement read.

“We are completely overwhelmed by the support we have received from all over the world.”

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