KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — The search for Irish teenager Nora Anne Quoirin, 15, has intensified in recent days, with more security personnel recruited to boost search and rescue (SAR) efforts.
For now, the case remains a missing persons case as the police have yet to obtain any lead or information to reclassify the case.
The police have so far dismissed rumours of abduction as claimed by family members.
Nora Anne, the child of Irish-French couple Meabh and Sebastian Quoirin, was born with learning and development disabilities.
When did Nora Anne go missing?
Nora Anna and her siblings arrived with her father from London and had checked into the resort at 7am on August 3 for a two-week holiday.
According to the police, her family found her missing from her bedroom at 8.30am the following morning on August 4.
A week has since passed after she was reported missing, with the case receiving media attention following an alert from the Lucie Blackman Trust, a charity which works with British nationals facing crises overseas.
The search has now entered the Aidiladha holiday period, with the family expressing their gratitude to the SAR team at the eve of the Muslim celebration.
Yesterday, the police said they were very worried about her welfare and uncertain how much longer can she survive.
Where was she found missing?
Nora Anne was found missing from a chalet in The Dusun resort.
The resort is a 12-acre tropical rainforest resort is located 30 minutes east of Seremban, and about an hour and fifteen minutes from Kuala Lumpur.
Also known as a fruit orchard resort, it is located next to the Berembun Forest Reserve, accessible via the Lekas Highway.
The search, which initially focused on surrounding areas of the resort, has been expanded to include surrounding hills and rivers.
Who are involved in the search?
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has assisted investigations since day one, but the federal police have now been roped in to look through phone records and email exchanges made from the resort.
As of Friday, the police have also roped in the VAT 69 commando team, or Very Able Troopers, an elite multitasking special forces unit of the Royal Malaysian Police.
The addition of two officers and 21 members of the elite force brings the number of personnel involved in SAR operations to 261.
Since the search began last Sunday, the SAR operations team today include personnel from various agencies including the police (116 personnel and two K9 unit tracker dogs), Fire and Rescue Department (49), Civil Defence Force (29), People’s Volunteer Corps or Rela (10), General Operations Force (47), Federal Reserve Unit (3), and civilians (10).
How is the team searching for her?
Tracker dogs and drones equipped with a surveillance thermal imaging camera have been used to search for the victim.
Apart from these, the police are now using a voice recording of Nora Anne's mother, Meabh Quoirin, in hopes of persuading her to come towards the search team as they believe that she could be hiding in fear.
Each SAR team has been equipped with a bullhorn, while some are using their mobile phones to play the recording of Nora Anne's mother during the search operation.
The recording of Meabh's voice is a persuasive tone similar to how she usually talks to calm Nora Anne, saying: “Nora darling, I love you... mum is here. Mum is here, Nora darling, my love.”
What do the police know so far?
The police have so far confirmed that Nora Anne had exited the resort chalet from the aluminium-framed glass window which was reported to be wide open on the morning of her disappearance.
According to the police, the forensics team is still trying to establish if fingerprint samples found on the window belong to a criminal or an outsider.
Police investigations have so far determined that the window could be opened from the outside if it was not locked, but have yet to establish if the window was locked when Nora Anna went missing.
The police have also revealed that the teen was believed to have left the resort only in her undergarments, as those were the last outfit she was seen sleeping in, according to statements from her parents.
Sniffer dogs used in the SAR operations were only able to trace the odour of Nora Anne on the first day of operation for as far as 100m from the chalet occupied by the family.
The police have also checked with the Immigration Department and found that there were no records to suggest that the victim had left the country.
Why do the Orang Asli believe she is no longer in the area?
Commenting on Nora Anne's case, the Orang Asli community cited two previous incidents where individuals got lost in the jungle area surrounding the resort and said both were found within 24 hours.
They indicated that the police canine unit would have detected her scent if she had fainted or anything untoward happened while she was lost.
Members of the community, who described the surrounding jungle as their “playground”, also said they have searched various areas and pointed out the vicinity around the search zone where the terrain is difficult and dangerous.
They stressed that if Nora Anne was still around, she would be wandering near the 2km river down the hill or by the road side.
Because the police had searched the hilly terrain, the Orang Asli viewed that it did not make sense for her to continue hiking upwards to the hilly jungle area.