Nora Anne Quoirin inquest: Family initially wanted three houses near resort searched, Nilai police chief testifies

Nilai police chief Supt Mohd Marzukee Besar arrives at the Seremban Court Complex August 25, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Nilai police chief Supt Mohd Marzukee Besar arrives at the Seremban Court Complex August 25, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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SEREMBAN, Aug 25 — Franco-Irish teen Nora Anne Quoirin’s family had initially asked the police to launch their search-and-rescue operation in three different houses located outside the compound of The Dusun resort, a Negri Sembilan district police chief revealed in the Coroner’s Court today.

Nilai police chief Superintendent Mohd Nor Marzukee Besar, who is testifying as the third witness at the inquest proceedings to determine the cause of death of Nora Anne, recalled in court how he had gone to the retreat on August 5, 2019 shortly around midnight to meet with the family and rescue team.

“During the meet, they made a request and informed us that the missing person (Nora Anne) was said to be within the vicinity of three houses which they had visited during the day.

“These three houses were located outside The Dusun compound and in an adjacent resort nearby,” he told Coroner Maimoonah Aid.

Mohd Nor Marzukee however said he could not recall the name of the said resort.

When asked by conducting officer Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad whether he questioned the family’s request, Mohd Nor Marzukee said that it was a reasonable decision to make then as a district police chief to alleviate the family’s distress.

“At that time, I took into account the family’s difficult position in making said request to a district police chief.

“In my capacity, it was a reasonable course of action to fulfill their request,” he said, adding that teams from the district and contingent Criminal Investigations Department were dispatched to search the three houses.

To another question by Maimoonah, Mohd Nor Marzukee also explained that the family had suspicions that Nora Anne was “brought” to the three houses which the family had viewed earlier in the day.

In other words, Mohd Nor Marzukee further clarified that the family suspected that Nora Anne had been kidnapped.

Mohd Nor Marzukee also testified that he was at home when he was informed of Nora Anne’s disappearance through a missing person’s report lodged by The Dusun owner Haanim Ahmed Bamadhaj on August 4, 2019.

Subsequent to the report, Mohd Nor Marzukee said he then instructed the Pantai police station chief to deploy personnel and obtain the help from the Fire and Rescue Department (better known by its Malay name Bomba) to conduct a search for Nora Anne the same day.

He also affirmed that German Shepherd sniffer dogs from Bukit Aman and the state contingent K-9 unit were also deployed to assist in the search-and-rescue operation.

All in all, a total of 41 searchers — comprising 18 firemen, 13 police officers and 10 civilians — were roped on August 4, 2019.

Intensifying efforts to locate Nora Anne

As the commander in-charge of the overall search-and-rescue operations, Mohd Nor Marzukee told the court that roadblocks were set up at two exits close to the Pantai police station, taking into account the possibility that Nora Anne might be found walking by the roads or could have hitchhiked.

Throughout the inquest, Mohd Nor Marzukee was also asked to recall the sequence of events from the day Nora Anne disappeared leading up to her discovery almost a week later.

He detailed how he was tasked with the day-to-day operations, including holding 8am briefings for the search-and-rescue teams.

Apart from that, he also related his meetings with foreign dignitaries and senior police officers to provide them with regular updates on the ongoing operation.

Mohd Nor Marzukee said the authorities employed several methods including thermal drones, voice recordings, the Senoi Praaq tracking unit and helicopter units to scour the 12-acre wide jungle retreat and areas beyond for the missing girl.

He told the court how authorities had addressed every bit of information with utmost seriousness and all available resources, citing two instances where Nora Anne’s father had acted on tip-offs as to the girl’s possible whereabouts.

The first instance was on August 7, 2019; Mohd Nor Marzukee said he was informed by then police international relations liaison officer Assistant Commissioner Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal to conduct a search at The Dusun’s deer park.

“Acting on that information, I ordered five people including four Bomba personnel to conduct a search,” he said, adding that the information came about through the family’s assumption that Nora Anne may have gone to the deer park as she was attracted to the animals.

The second instance was on August 10, 2019 where Mohd Nor Marzukee said he was informed that there was a possibility Nora Anne was being kept in a secluded place at the nearby Ngoi-Ngoi water treatment plant.

“We found two structures at the nearby farm, a dilapidated hut and another hut that a 51-year-old man lived in, but our search still came up nothing,” he added.

Nora Anne, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared from the resort last year where she was staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of searchers.

Her body was discovered close to the jungle retreat and an autopsy found that she likely died of internal bleeding linked to starvation after spending about a week in the dense rainforest.

The inquest started yesterday and is expected to go on daily until August 28, before a break and will continue from September 1 to 4.

A total of 64 witnesses will be called to testify in the inquest.

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