A hiker who helped find the body of missing teen Nora Quoirin has told how she looked as ‘if she were sleeping’ when she was discovered lying close to a stream.
Sean Yeap, a volunteer taking part in the search for the 15-year-old, told how her naked remains were found Tuesday lying by a riverbed and that her head was resting on her hands.
Nora went missing on the first full day of a family holiday to a Malaysian eco-resort on August 4 before her remains were discovered just a short distance away.
Parents Sebastien and Meabh, who were on holiday with Nora and her siblings Innes, 12, and Maurice, eight, when she vanished, have said they are heartbroken at her death and described her as ‘the truest, most precious girl.’
Speaking about the moment the body was discovered, Mr Yeap told Mail Online: ‘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.’
The body of the teenager was formally identified by her parents at a hospital in the town of Seremban on Tuesday night.
The results of a post mortem to determine cause of death are set to be revealed later today.
Nora’s death is still be treated as a missing person case by police, but a parallel criminal investigation remains open.
A spokesman for the Lucie Blackman Trust, which had been helping the family with their search, said Sebastien and Meabh are questioning whether their daughter was killed before her body was dumped at the location where it was found.
Mr Yeap raised similar questions, saying that the body was not hidden or covered with foliage and that search teams which passed through the area on previous occasions would have found it, if it had been there.
‘I could see the body. She was lying with her hands behind her head like you do when you go to sleep. There were some scratches on her arm and some bruises but otherwise there were no injuries,’ he said.
‘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.
‘The place where she was found is not easy to find. I wonder if she had been following the stream as there were no footprints which means she could have been walking in the water as it was not very deep.’
Mr Yeap, an insurance salesman, was with a group of 24 experienced hikers who had left the Dusun resort to look for Nora on the 10th day of the search having volunteered to join experienced search and rescue teams.
Led by team leader Kenny Chan, the men and women set off to follow a trail on a palm oil plantation about 1.2miles from where Nora disappeared on August 4th.
He said they met an Indian man who told them he was familiar with the area and would assist them.
They followed a trail through the oil plantation when one of the group said he could smell a strong odour coming from the jungle.
It was then they came across tragic Nora’s body.
Yeap and the others, including housewife Shirley Yap, stood back from the shocking discovery and waited for police.
Two of the group began crying and were comforted by others,.
‘We knew not to touch the body and let the police do their work,’ he said.
‘The police took about 40minutes to get there and sealed of the scene. We all had to make statements at the police station.’
Yeap, a Chinese/Malay who spoke through an interpreter, said he feels nothing but sadness for Nora’s parents.
‘I feel so sorry for them but I am glad that we were able to find the body and they did not have to wait even longer to know what happened.’
Other member of the group who belong to the Kepayank Hiking Club read out a statement that they said was the ‘truth’ of what took place.
Since Nora’s body was found rumours have swirled particularly as she was found naked.
Shirley Yap, 50,read from a prepared statement describing how the group had formed a line either side of trail towards a stream.
She fought back tears when asked to describe finding the body.
‘It is not good. It sad to see a body like that,’ she said.
Describing the lead up to finding the body, Yap said they had spread out either side of a path and followed a trail through an old palm oil plantation.
After searching for 30 minutes they followed the trail downhill towards a stream.
She said: ‘One of our members saw the body lying across the small stream and called out. All of us turned back to where the body was found.
‘We stopped 10m from the body and all knew we should not stop too close to the scene of the body and waited there for the police to arrive.
‘It was hard for the police to find us as the area was quite inaccessible.
The place where Nora was found remained sealed off by police today.