The family of a 15-year-old London schoolgirl who went missing from a nature resort in Malaysia say they believe she was abducted despite police saying there was “no evidence” tofoul play.
Nora Quoirins family say they became aware of her missing from her bedroom at the Dusun resort on Sunday morning with the window left open just hours after they checked in.
The London teens family say they believe she was abducted from the resort, but police have disputed that account and claim there were no signs of foul play and she is lost in the dense jungle.
Nora, who has special needs, vanished while on holiday with her parents Sebastien and Meabh and two siblings.
Now in its third day, the search in a rainforest in Malaysias southern Negeri Sembilan state has been expanded to 25 acres (10 hectares), with more than 160 personnel, including sniffer dogs, now involved.
In the latest update, the states police chief, Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop, said it is still being classified as a missing person’s case and there was “no evidence” to suggest Nora was abducted.
There was no evidence that a struggle had taken place in the familys rented accommodation, he said.
“She may be lost. We will keep looking for her,” the police chief added.
He said the effort would focus on a river that runs through the area, and the police force went as far as warning Malaysians not to share news reports containing the familys claims that Nora was abducted.
In a Facebook post and statement released on Tuesday, Noras family again disputed the police departments position.
Her father Sebastien wrote on Facebook: “Our daughter Nora has now been missing for 3 days in Seremban, 1h30 South of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“We believe she may have been abducted and we need your support to help us find Nora.”
The family said in a statement: up
“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 wont understand what is going on.
“She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost.”
Those searching dense jungle and hilly terrain on foot and by helicopter include police, the fire and rescue services department, civil defence, and the forestry department, Malaysias The Star newspaper reported.
Sniffer dogs are also being used in the hunt for Nora, who is the daughter of an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for around 20 years.
But the dogs have so far been unable to pick up a scent, the police chief said.
State deputy police chief Che Zakaria Othman said local indigenous people – known as Orang Asli – are also helping with the search in an area about an hour south-east of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
More family members have travelled to Malaysia – a former British colony – to join the search taking place .
Mr Othman said: “Weve got a platoon from the general operations force as well as a police canine team to look for Nora Anne,” he told The Star, adding that more personnel are expected to join the search.
He added that the CCTV system at the resort, near the town of Seremban, is limited to the counter area.
“The girls passport and other belongings are with the family,” he said.
A local man involved in the search, named only as Tan, 47, claims Noras family had told him that the teens clothes were still in the room when they discovered her missing.
He told Metro: “Members of the family said that when the teenager went missing all her clothes were left in the room and she was wearing only underwear.
“However, the moment when she went missing wasnt filmed by the closed circuit TV in the resort.”
He added: “I believe the girl is still close by.”
The states police chief said claims that Nora was in her undergarments when she vanished were based on a statement from her parents, adding: “We dont know what she was in when she went missing.”
Tan, who has lived in the area for 13 years, told the New Straits Times he doesnt believe the teen had been attacked by a wild animal.
“I took it upon myself to find the girl since I know this area. I have gone through every nook and cranny, including nearby villages, but the girl is nowhere to be seen.
“However, I believe she is still around here.”
Missing persons charity the Lucie Blackman Trust (LBT) had previously said Noras disappearance was being treated as an abduction.
The girls family said they were treating the disappearance as a “criminal matter”.
The LBT said in its latest update: “Contrary to several reports that police are NOT treating Noras disappearance as an abduction, the family have been told directly by police that they are treating it as both an abduction and missing persons case.”
Speaking to LBT from Belfast, Noras aunt Aisling Agnew said: “Noras parents and relatives in Ireland and France are distraught by her disappearance.
“Nora is a child with special needs and has learning and developmental disabilities which make her especially vulnerable and we fear for her safety.
“Nora would not know how to get help and would never leave her family voluntarily.
“We now consider this a criminal matter.
“We are appealing to everyone to assist the local police in any way they can and to pass on any information that would help locate our beloved Nora without delay.”
Her uncle Michael Agnew wrote on Facebook on Sunday: “Any friends with connections in Malaysia pls get in touch if you think you can help in any way, my niece (Nora Quoirin) has gone missing in Seremban an hour or so from KL.
“She is 15 with special needs, and hasnt been seen since everyone went to bed last night.”
Noras father raised the alarm when he discovered her missing from her bedroom at 8am local time on Sunday, a day after the family-of-five checked in during a two-week trip.
Her window had been opened.
Nora, whose mother Meabh is originally from Belfast and whose father is French, is understood to have been travelling on an Irish passport.
Villagers at the Jeram Toi rainforest claim authorities have stopped them from taking part in the search, telling The Malaysian Insight that it was their home and they should know better how to locate the missing girl.