The family of a 15-year-old British schoolgirl with learning difficulties who vanished on holiday in Malaysia have made a fresh plea for information, saying: “She is not like other teenagers, she does not go anywhere alone.”
A search team of 200 rescuers is currently scouring the dense landscape around the Dusun forest eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state, where Nora Quoirin was last seen on Sunday.
The teenager, who was born with the brain defect holoprosencephaly, needs help with many aspects of everyday life, prompting family fears she may have been abducted from the resort during the night.
So far attempts to trace the teenager have proved unsuccessful, with police looking into footprints discovered nearby which may suggest Nora escaped alone.
Search crews have also begun playing recorded voice messages from Nora’s mother, Meabh Quoirin, through the forest in an attempt to reach the missing youngster.
The Irish-French family, who have lived in London for 20 years, described how the youngster was particularly vulnerable.
They said: “Nora is a very special person. She is fun, funny, and extremely loving. With her family, she is very affectionate – family is her whole world.
“She is not like other teenagers. She is not independent and does not go anywhere alone.
“Nora has always needed dedicated specialist educational provision, and now attends a school for children and young people with learning and communication difficulties.
“Nora and her family are bi-lingual and bi-cultural. Nora is very proud that she can speak French as well as English. But her verbal communication is limited.
“Nora can read like a young child, but she cannot write more than a few words. She has a good memory but she cannot understand anything conceptual. She is unable to do maths and so things like money are impossible to manage.
“She cannot make or receive phone calls independently.”
They said she “struggles with coordination” and has “never wandered off or got lost” during previous family holidays.
The family added: “Nora is very sensitive. Outside the family, Nora is very shy and can be quite anxious.
“Every night, her special time is for cuddles and a night-time story with her Mum. And she was extremely excited about the family holiday in Malaysia.”
Earlier, State Fire and Rescue Department operation division assistant director Ahmad Mukhlis Mokhtar said they were investigating whether footprints spotted in the forest belonged to the missing teen.
He told local journalists: “Previously, our detective canines had spotted footprints, but when we conducted a search there, we couldn’t find her.”
He added that the rescuers would now focus on the jungle’s hilly areas amid a theory Nora could be hiding behind trees or rocks.
Police chief Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop told Malaysian publication The Star that Ms Quoirin’s voice was used first as she is closest to Nora.
He also said the missing 15-year-old’s family members are not part of the search operations for security reasons.
Mr Mohamad said Nora was believed to have climbed out of her resort room window.
“An able-bodied or normal person would be weak by the fifth day, and that is why we need to find the victim as soon as possible,” he said.
Nora’s photograph is being handed out at roadblocks in the area.
Her family has said they remain hopeful after police leading the investigation refused to rule out a “criminal element”.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lucie Blackman Trust intelligence on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 800 098 8485