The father of a French-Irish teenager who was found dead near a Malaysian resort after vanishing while on holiday has said his daughter would not have had the stamina or instinct to survive for days in the jungle.
Sebastien Quoirin also told the inquest into Nora Anne Quoirin’s death that the condition of the 15-year-old’s body did not support the police theory that she ventured out of the family’s cottage on her own, walked and hid in the forest.
He said he had visited the area where Nora’s body was found, which involved a drive out of the resort and another hour of walking along a rocky stream in dense and slippery terrain.
“I don’t believe she would have coped at all… she didn’t have a survival instinct,” the Frenchman said by video link from his London home.
“I don’t believe Nora would have had the stamina or the strength to be on the move for… days. Nora would not know what to eat, she would be seriously dehydrated… she would be very weak.”
Nora’s disappearance from her family’s cottage at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on August 4 last year, a day after her family arrived for their holiday, sparked a massive search.
Her body was found on August 13 beside a stream in a palm oil estate about 1.6 miles from the resort.
Her family believes she was abducted because she had mental and physical disabilities and could not have wandered off on her own.
Police told the inquest that an investigation showed no criminal activity and no indication Nora had been abducted. Officers believe she climbed out of a window on her own, and the post-mortem showed she succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.
Mr Quoirin said rescuers had combed the area where she was found four times, including once with dogs, but failed to spot her.
When he and his wife were asked to identify the body, he said Nora’s feet “didn’t seem to be particularly damaged” and were only dirty.
“I try to think how was it possible since the police told us Nora has been on the move. I am not an expert but to us, Nora’s body didn’t seem compatible of someone wandering off in the jungle, half naked without shoes,” he said.
Mr Quoirin said Nora’s normal reaction when she felt scared would have been to “freeze, look down and call for mummy or daddy”.
He said it was possible that abductors later released her due to her handicap, the search operation and the media attention.
The girl’s Irish mother, Meabh Quoirin, spoke at length about Nora’s disability in her evidence on Wednesday. She said it would be near-impossible for her daughter to push open and climb out of a window in the cottage.
She said Nora and her two siblings were wearing only their underwear when they went to bed because it was a hot night. Nora’s body was found naked, and it was unclear what happened to her underwear, but police said the post-mortem showed no sign she was sexually assaulted.
The couple’s two younger children will give evidence later in private. Later this month, a British doctor who conducted a second post-mortem will also give evidence remotely.
The Quoirin family has sued the resort owner for alleged negligence. They said in their lawsuit that there was no security at the resort and that the window with a broken latch was found ajar the morning Nora disappeared.