PROSECUTORS in France have begun a probe into whether Nora Quoirin has kidnapped before her naked body was found in the Malaysian jungle.
The 15-year-old’s dad is French and the launch of their investigation comes as a hiker who found her at a waterfall said he believed she must have been dumped at there.
Results of an initial post-mortem examination were inconclusive and will continue tomorrow, Malaysian cops have said.
The probe is being handled by the OCRVP division of the Police Nationale, which is responsible for fighting serious and organised crime, judicial sources told Franceinfo.com.
Two investigators from the OCRVP are currently in Malaysia and have joined with police officers from France and Ireland.
A lawyer representing the family in France told Le Parisien that the parents Sebastien, 47, and Meabh, 45, filed a complaint “for kidnapping” and are convinced her disappearance is of “criminal” origin.
They have always insisted that Nora, who had learning difficulties, wouldn’t have wandered off on her own and must have been abducted.
Nora’s parents are also asking questions as to why police may have initially missed her body and if it could have been moved there at a later date.
Volunteer hiker Sean Yeap who was part of a group of who found the body was lying in plain sight and said it must have been dumped there after an initial sweep by search parties failed to spot it.
Her body was found by in a ravine just over a mile from the Dusun eco-resort where the family were staying.
“I am not sure, but I think she had been dead a few days. I think maybe she was elsewhere and walked to the stream perhaps to drink some water,” Mr Yeap said
It looked like she was sleeping. Her head was resting on her hands. But we all knew she was dead.”
“It was very sad and two women in the group did not want to come close and they started crying.”
Mr Yeap said two dozen strong group set off to follow a trail on a palm oil plantation about 1.2miles from where Nora disappeared.
They came across a local tribesman who told them he was familiar with the area and would be able to help them.
A strong smell then led them to Nora’s body, at which point the party stood back and contacted the police as two in the group were overcome with emotion.
The body was found in an area that had previously been searched, admitted Malaysia’s Deputy Inspector General of Police Mazn Mazlan.
Mr Yeap, who is an insurance salesman, said the body was not covered by any foliage, though the area it was found is not easy to get to.
He revealed the body had a few bruises and scratches but not signs of any serious injury
“I could see the body. She was lying with her hands behind her head like you do when you go to sleep,” he said.
The family’s spokesman Matthew Searle, of the Lucie Blackman Trust, said they still have “a large amount of questions”.
He said: “One of those questions is, has the body been there all the time or is there a criminal involvement? Was the body dumped there afterwards?”
Mr Mazlan confirmed a criminal investigation was still ongoing alongside a missing persons inquiry.
He said he could not comment on whether someone else could have been involved in the tragedy or whether Nora had suffered any injuries.
It is understood Nora had been wearing underwear when she went missing – but police said when she was found she was “completely naked”.
The officer who has been leading the hunt, Datuk Mazlan Mansor, earlier said Nora’s body was discovered in a stream running through a ravine “and she was found completely naked”.
“The stream was about 1.2km deep in the ravine,” he said.
The devastating discovery came more than a week after Nora went missing on August 4.
Paying tribute to the teenager who had “truly touched the world”, her family said: “The cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable. Our hearts are broken.”
A statement from the devastated family thanked everyone who had helped search and tried their best to find their daughter.
They said: “We thank the local people here and those far and wide for their prayers and support at this time.
“Nora has brought people together, especially from France, Ireland, Britain and Malaysia, united in their love and support for her and her family.
“To all our friends and family at home, we can’t thank you enough for all your love.
“Nora is at the heart of our family. She is the truest, most precious girl and we love her infinitely.
“We will always love our Nora.”
Speaking to France TV, Nora’s grandad Sylvain Quoirin, said that the family has “collapsed” over the loss of their “pearl”.
He said that his son and Nora’s father, Sebastien, identified Nora by looking at her face.
Sebastien was there, [they] showed him her face and he saw that it was Nora. It’s her, for sure,” he added.
“It’s catastrophic, it’s terrible. Sebastien is strong, despite everything, because he has to handle many problems. But I can tell you that they have collapsed. Everyone has collapsed. We lost a pearl, an innocent.
“These are moments [in life] that I do not wish anyone.”
He said the parents identified Nora’s body at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital at around 7pm local time after it was taken there by helicopter.
The family’s lawyer, Sankara Nair, said to media yesterday that the family was “distraught and highly traumatised”.
Nora’s parents visited the site where the body was discovered, said the Lucie Blackman trust.
The teenager was discovered missing from her bedroom at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on the morning of Sunday August 4, with the window left open.
She was on family holiday with her sister Innes, 12, and brother Maurice, eight, at the time of her disappearance.
The police believe Nora climbed out through a window but say any investigation would look at whether there was any “criminal element” in her disappearance.
A volunteer helping with the search said Nora had told her parents she was “excited” about seeing a waterfall.
Nora’s parents are an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for about 20 years.
The teen had only arrived the day earlier with her parents and two siblings at the resort – in a nature reserve near Seremban, 39 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
It was the start of a two-week “trip of a lifetime”, a family friend said.
The Dusun is a 12-acre orchard resort next to the Berembun Forest Reserve – 4,000 acres of protected virgin forest rising to 3,900 feet.
Nearly 350 people were involved in a massive search operation that included sniffer dogs, elite commando forces and thermal detectors.
Police officers from the UK, Ireland and France also went to Malaysia to help in the search.
Shamans were even brought in to pray for her safe return and video footage showed them praying cross legged on the jungle floor.