SEREMBAN, Oct 22 — The location where the body of Irish-French teenager Nora Anne Quoirin was found after her disappearance last year here was remote, difficult to access and has poor cellular coverage, a witness told the Coroner’s Court today.
Search-and-rescue operation volunteer M. Magenderan, who testified as the 30th witness at the inquest into Quoirin’s death, recalled how he and another volunteer had found the spot by following gunshots authorities used to signal their location on August 13, 2019.
He described the journey from the resort where the teen had gone missing to where the body was found as surrounded by dense vegetation and with no visible walking trails.
“Before help arrived, the police had trouble getting into the place and they fired gunshots (to reveal their position). After we heard that, we headed towards the shot and guided the police to where we were.
“A lot of people had no clue as to how to get into the area where the body was found,” he said in Tamil to coroner Maimoonah Aid through a court interpreter.
He said the area where Quoirin’s corpse was discovered was located within an oil palm plantation roughly north-east of The Dusun Resort where she had stayed.
Magenderan said he was somewhat familiar with the area as he last visited the area between 2003-2004 when it was still a rubber estate then.
Magenderan earlier told the court how he learned of Quoirin’s disappearance, and how he spent his entire life living in the nearby Kampung Pantai located several kilometres from the resort where the teen went missing.
He explained that he was initially approached by a group of hikers who asked whether he could join them in the search for the missing teen since he lived in the nearby village on August 12, 2019.
“There was a makeshift hut by the river which I believed was used by people who hunt birds in the area but no one was there when we passed by.
“After going past the hut, I heard a woman’s shout and headed towards it before stumbling upon a body not far from where she was standing. I also got a closer look to see if she was really dead,” he said, adding that he could recognise Quoirin’s hair and face from the missing poster he saw.
Following that, Magenderan said he then contacted a People’s Volunteer Corp (Rela) personnel to inform him of the discovery, who then contacted Magenderan’s father to guide the authorities to the plantation due to poor cellular network coverage in getting the initial call through.
He also confirmed prior incidents of people going missing in the vicinity, but most of them comprised hikers at the nearby Gunung Berembun who were found alive days later.
Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared from The Dusun resort last year where she had been staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, search dogs and hundreds of searchers.
Her nude body was later discovered close to the jungle retreat and an autopsy found that she probably starved and died of internal bleeding after spending about a week in the dense rainforest.