It is too early to rule out a criminal element in the death of Nóra Quoirin, her family’s lawyer has insisted.
Charles Morel, the family’s lawyer, also warned that the autopsy results should be interpreted with caution.
According to the Malaysian authorities, the autopsy found that Nóra had died due to a gastrointestinal bleed, possibly caused by stress or severe hunger. They said there was no evidence of a struggle or of any violence, including that of sexual violence.
“We have to be very cautious of the interpretation of the first results of the autopsy,” said Mr Morel. “The risk is that [the Malaysian authorities] say: ‘OK, there was no third party, no person.’ But if you exclude the criminal hypothesis it’s too early to say that.
We don’t want the media to interpret the first results of the autopsy as excluding the criminal hypothesis.
Mr Morel added that Nóra’s family are not “obsessed” with the possibility of a criminal involvement. Instead, they are struggling to understand how the 15-year-old, who has special needs, could have walked such a distance on her own, and survived for up to six days in the jungle.
Nóra was reported missing on the morning of August 4, from her shared bedroom in the family’s holiday villa. After a 10-day search party, her body was found close to a stream in the nearby jungle. According to pathologists, Nóra had been dead two to three, but no more than four days, before her body was discovered on August 13.
“The family is not obsessed with the criminal hypothesis,” Mr Morel told.
It’s just Nóra as you know, was very shy and dependent on her mother.
“It’s not in her character to go out in the night after a long trip in a place she doesn’t know in the jungle and even the place where she was from, 2km from the resort, it is very strange that she could go there by herself alone. We cannot exclude the criminal hypothesis.”
The next stage for the family is to await the results of the toxicology reports and DNA samples.
“We have to wait for the complete results of the autopsy,” said Mr Morel. “I insist on that. [Toxicology], DNA, and a sample of tissues.”
While the family can now start the process of bringing Nóra’s remains home, Mr Morel said no decision had actually been made on the matter of repatriating her body. He explained that the priority was now receiving the rest of the results, and the family hoped to have access to these “quickly”.
He added that the “truth” of what happened to Nóra was a greater concern than repatriation.
“We are wondering what happened in the six days before she died,” said Mr Morel. “They’re just concerned now about the truth, they owe that to Nóra. What happened? How did she die?”
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, authorities said they had altered the status of the investigation into Nóra’s death.
“[The] case is still a missing person and investigations are still ongoing,” said Negri Sembilan police chief Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop. “We opened a SDR [sudden death report] for inquest reasons, if there is a plan for one later.”
He also said investigation papers will be forwarded to the Malaysian Attorney General for further instructions.
In London, where Nóra’s family lived, the local parish priest paid tribute to the teenager and said a mass will be held in her memory.
Even though they are on the other side of the world, we feel at one with them,” said Fr Marcus Holden. “We feel very much united with them. People loved Nóra very much.
The priest said that Nóra’s family will still need the support of their community as the story fades from international attention.
“We will support them with great love and faith,” said Fr Holden.