UK

Nora Quoirin: Malaysia search for missing teen extended

Nora Quoirin Image copyright LBT/Family handout/PA Media
Image caption Nora’s disappearance has been described as “completely out of character”

The search has been extended for a vulnerable 15-year-old London girl who vanished in Malaysia on a family “trip of a lifetime”.

Nora Quoirin’s parents woke on Sunday to find her missing from her bedroom at the Dusun resort.

Malaysian police said they had expanded the operation beyond a seven-mile radius and were re-checking the grounds of the hotel.

Her disappearance is being treated as a missing persons case, not an abduction.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Nora’s family appealed for anyone in the area to “get out and join the search”

The family said Nora, who has special needs, “never goes anywhere by herself”.

In a statement they said she was “not like other 15 year olds” as she “looks younger, she is not capable of taking care of herself, and she won’t understand what is going on.”

“We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost,” they added.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police, fire and rescue services department and civil defence officers have joined the search

Nora, the daughter of an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for about 20 years, arrived at the resort in a nature reserve near Seremban – 39 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur – on Saturday for a two-week stay.

Her father raised the alarm at 08:00 local time on Sunday after she was discovered missing with the window in her bedroom open.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police said they are treating the disappearance as a missing persons case

Search teams are being assisted by local Orang Asli people, who have knowledge of the dense jungle terrain, with more personnel expected to join the 160 people taking part in the operation.

“We’ve got a platoon from the general operations force as well as a police canine team to look for Nora,” state deputy police chief Che Zakaria Othman told Malaysia’s The Star paper.

He said Nora’s passport and other belongings were still in her family’s possession but the CCTV system at the resort only covered a limited area.

Image caption The Dusun resort is next to a large forest

In a statement on Facebook, the resort’s owners said they were “extremely distressed and worried” and “pray for [Nora’s] safety”.

According to its website, the Dusun is a 12-acre orchard resort in the foothills of the Titiwangsa mountains and sits next to the 4,000-acre Berembun Forest Reserve.

It has a maximum capacity of 20 adults split across seven houses.

The resort’s “nearest neighbours” are two Temuan villages where most of its staff are from.

Image copyright The Dusun
Image caption The Dusun resort has seven houses with a maximum capacity for 20 adults

Nora, whose mother Meabh is originally from Belfast and whose father is French, is understood to have been travelling on an Irish passport.

A spokesman for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said they were “aware of the case and providing consular assistance.”

Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham where the family live, said he was “deeply concerned” by the teenager’s disappearance and was “doing all I can to ensure the foreign office gives all possible assistance”.

St Bede’s Church in Clapham Park, where Nora and her family were parishioners, called on people to “pray for her safety and for her family who are distressed at this time”.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Royal Malaysian Police helicopters are taking part in the search

On an online fundraising page set up by Nora’s aunt, the family appealed for anyone living in the area to “get out and join the search”.

The page has raised more than £11,500 and has been set up “to cover any unforeseen expenses or charges” as more family members travel to Malaysia.

Missing persons charity the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is supporting the family, has provided a hotline and email address for information.

People can remain anonymous and can call +448000988485 or email ops@lbtrust.org.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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