SEREMBAN, Aug 27 — The family of Irish-French teen Nora Anne Quoirin asked the police to look into several leads on the missing girl purportedly from spiritual mediums based overseas, a police officer told the Coroner’s Court today.
Testifying as the fourth witness in the proceedings to determine the cause of Quoirin’s death, Negri Sembilan Criminal Investigation Department’s Sexual, Women and Child Investigations Division officer Assistant Superintendent Chong Mee Chyi said the purported messages had been forwarded from relatives to a friend of Quoirin’s uncle through WhatsApp.
At the time of the girl’s disappearance, Chong was the appointed liaison officer between the family and the police.
“On August 8, 2019, I was on standby at The Dusun resort and the family informed me that they had received several instant messages from spiritual mediums said to be based overseas who were willing to provide their assistance.
“One of them, Dominic, who was a friend of Quoirin’s uncle, then showed me the WhatsApp message he received from people claiming to have spiritual powers which I duly noted down and that he asked if we could look into the locations listed,” she said before Coroner Maimoonah Aid.
Chong then disclosed the contents of the three aforementioned messages, the first of which claimed that Quoirin was being followed by someone from the airport and that she was still alive.
The second message claimed that Quoirin was held nearby The Dusun resort, with the girl in fear of her life and in need of her mother.
The last message claimed that Quoirin was trapped in a van located at the south-western part of the jungle near The Dusun resort.
As the liaison officer, Chong said all of the messages were subsequently submitted to the search-and-rescue operation control centre for further action.
In fact, Chong said the authorities had conducted their follow-up prior to receiving said messages, citing how she had gone to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on August 6, 2019 to obtain closed-circuit television footage of the family’s arrival to probe for possible criminal elements.
Asked by conducting officer Nuralis Mat if she knew where the psychics were from, Chong said she was unsure as she was not informed.
Chong was also asked to recall the sequence of events that led to her appointment as the liaison officer to the family.
She related that it started with a call from her superiors on August 4, 2019, in which she was informed that an Irish child had been reported missing from The Dusun.
Chong said she then contacted investigating officer Inspector Wan Faridah Mustanin and classified it as a missing person’s case, and another senior police officer to set up a search-and-rescue operations centre at the resort.
Chong said she reached the resort around 11.20pm the same day and immediately reached out to Quoirin's parents who informed her that their daughter was last seen on the night of August 3, 2019 around 10pm before bedtime.
During this time, Chong also obtained further information on Quoirin's background and disability who was unable to walk far by herself without the company of her family members.
Shortly around midnight on August 5, 2019, Chong said she led a search team accompanied by the girl's father and family friend to look for the girl outside of the resort's compound, in particular three houses located in the vicinity.
Chong said the family initially suspected Quoirin had been taken by someone in the middle of the night to one of the three houses near the resort.
Their first two stops were abandoned houses located between 900 and 930 metres away from the resort which Chong said failed to turn up anything concrete.
The third house was occupied by a male caretaker, which Chong said was initially interrogated for any information as to the whereabouts of the missing girl.
It was later found out that the man had no involvement with the girl's disappearance.
After that, the search was called off and they returned to the resort around 4am.
The following day, Chong said she received a call from the Negri Sembilan police chief who then ordered her to become the liaison officer to the family.
She also said she was ordered by the state's Criminal Investigation Department chief to head to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to obtain closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the family's arrival and probe for possible criminal elements on August 5, 2019.
She affirmed in court that the family told her that Quoirin could not walk far without a family member helping her due to a disability.
However, Chong said she was unaware of claims that Quoirin could not walk more than 20 feet (six metres) unaided as she could not maintain her balance.
However, Chong said she saw CCTV footage she had obtained that showed Quoirin walking normally beside her mother at the airport.
After Quoirin's body was found on August 13, 2019, Chong said the girl's mother asked her two days later if the family could visit the discovery site to perform a simple farewell ceremony.
“Around 11am I received the request from the mother. I told her I would ask the forensics team first, which they subsequently gave the green light to do so as investigations at the scene have completed.
“Accordingly, the family headed towards the scene around 4pm and they spent almost an hour there. I then escorted them back to The Dusun resort,” she told the court.
Chong added that the final message she received from the family following Quoirin's death was that they held onto the belief that the girl had been abducted.
Quoirin, a 15-year-old with physical and learning difficulties, disappeared from The Dusun 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 about 2.5km from 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 will resume on September 1.