Police are ‘very certain’ that a naked female body found in the hunt for Nora Quoirin is the missing British teenager, the officer leading the search in the Malaysian jungle revealed today.
The discovery was made by a volunteer hiker on the tenth day of an intensive search of the area surrounding the eco-resort where she was on holiday.
It was found near a waterfall around a mile away from the villa where the family were staying when the 15-year-old vanished.
Nora had told her family she was ‘excited’ to visit a waterfall when she arrived at the resort, a volunteer searcher told MailOnline.
The body was found near a stream in an area that had previously been searched, said Malaysia’s Deputy Inspector General of Police Mazlan Mansor.
State Police chief Mohammed Yusop said: ‘I can confirm a body has been found in the Betembum mountains. It is not in an accessible place’.
He said the white-skinned body was intact and forensics and a pathologist rushed to the scene in after the police hotline was alerted at around 2pm local time.
An autopsy would determine a cause of death and would not comment if the teenager had any visible injuries, he said.
The body was winched out of the jungle by helicopter and flown to Serenbam hospital. It was found near Gunung Berembun in the Pantai Hills.
Her parents, Frenchman Sebastien, 47, and Irish woman Meabh, face the harrowing ordeal of identifying the body in the mortuary.
Police chief Mazlan said: ‘We have reasonable information to say that must be her. We are very certain it is Nora.
‘It resembles Nora and she was found completely naked.’
Police confirmed it is still being classed as a missing persons case but that a criminal investigation is ongoing.
Nora disappeared in the early hours of August 4. She was barefoot and wearing a night dress.
Her parents, who live in London, discovered Nora was missing at around 8am after finding a downstairs window open in their resort in Dusun.
An officer at the scene today said rescue teams attempted to reach the body which was difficult to access.
He said they needed time to confirm it was definitely Nora, due to the local population burying their relatives in shallow graves.
Police chief Yusop arrived in the back of a moped when the body was found as intense police activity surrounded the resort.
He was followed down the single track road by a car containing a member of the Irish embassy, while a French official stood at the perimeter.
It is thought Nora had been told about the spectacular waterfall by her mother after arriving at the resort for a two week holiday.
Volunteer hikers who found the body were taken to Pantai police station to make statements.
Hours before the body was found, volunteer Shirley Yap told MailOnline she was setting off to search around the waterfall having been told Nora was ‘excited’ to see the attraction.
She said: ‘We had heard she was excited about seeing a waterfall when she arrived in the resort.
‘We are going to look around that area and follow the stream down the mountain’.
The group of 22 volunteers were from Serenbam Hiking Club, who later found the body, are experienced in trekking through the jungle.
They stocked up on water and supplies before heading off to the waterfall about a mile from the resort at around 12.30pm local time.
More than 350 people were involved in the ten-day search in the jungle and river, using helicopters with thermal detectors, drones, sniffer dogs and shamans.
It comes after her parents offered a £10,000 reward for information that could lead to her safe return.
They made an emotional plea saying their ‘hearts were breaking’ as the reward money was announced.
In a statement, her mother said: ‘Nora is our first child. She has been vulnerable since the day she was born.
‘She is so precious to us and our hearts are breaking. We are appealing to anyone who has information about Nora to help us find her.’
The £10,000 reward – 50,000 in local Malaysian Ringgit currency – was donated by an anonymous businessman based in Belfast.
British, Irish and French police also joined the search as it stretched into its second week.
Shaman, believed to be able to summon spirits, went into the jungle yesterday and entered a trance-like state to perform a ritual incantation in a bid to find the teen.
Shaman Khalid Mohamad said he believed the girl was lured by a genie, an invisible spirit believed by Muslims to inhabit the Earth and influence mankind by appearing in the form of humans or animals.
He said in a video that the genie was attracted to the girl because she has special needs and had chosen her as its step-child.
Dogs trained in finding dead bodies were also drafted in to help with the search.
Cadaver dogs roamed the dense jungle with their handlers surrounding the remote eco-resort in Malaysia.
Four days after the teen went missing, officials played a recording of the girl’s mother calling ‘Nora, Nora darling, mummy’s here’ through loudspeakers.
Known paedophiles were also interviewed and police visited the homes of 30 local people, but did not find any trace of the teen.
A large number of search and rescue personnel worked in energy-sapping hot and humid temperatures, hacking their way through the jungle vines and vegetation.
Searchers were left physically exhausted making their way step by step through the thick jungle vegetation.
It comes as local police refused to discuss what role they had, but it was likely to be on the criminal investigation that is being run parallel to the missing persons inquiry.
Assistant Commissioner Che Zaharia confirmed at an evening press conference: ‘We have police from three nations assisting us. France, Ireland and U.K.’
A member of the Garda, the Irish police, has been in Malaysia for several days acting as a family liaison officer.
The National Crime Agency and Met Police also offered their support to the Malaysian authorities.
The family were helped by the Lucie Blackman Trust who provide support for those with a loved one missing.
Her parents Sebastien and Meabh said it was ‘unthinkable’ that she would wander off alone.
Nora was sleeping in the same room as her younger siblings and her parents were in a bedroom a few feet away.
She was discovered missing by her father Sebastien at around 8am and a downstairs door was wide open.
They have told police they did not hear anything and there were no signs of a struggle.
The only clue to the teen’s disappearance was an open ground floor window, which police believe she climbed out and then wandered into the jungle.
One theory is that she woke up early jet-lagged after her 12-hour flight from London and, disorientated at being in a strange bedroom, got up and left.
Police said there was no sign of any intruder entering the property.
They did not find any footprints inside the villa or forensic evidence to suggest an unknown person was inside.
The entire area around the villa where the family were staying is covered with soggy vegetation and the single-track road leading to the resort is covered with mud.
Had someone entered through the window and climbed a flight of stairs to an upstairs bedroom where Nora was sleeping, it is assumed there would have been traces of mud on the floor.
It is because of the lack of evidence of any crime that police treated the case as primarily that of a missing person.
Fears for Nora’s safety were compounded by her special needs.
She was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder than affects brain development, which means she struggles with co-ordination.
As police were convinced they are dealing with a missing person rather than a crime they concentrated their search in a 4km area around the Dusan eco resort.
Search teams and senior police were given a morale-boosting visit by a senior Malaysian Government minister to boost morale.
Transport minister Loke Siew Fook also met privately with the Quoirin family to assure them authorities were doing everything possible to find their daughter.
The search teams included men from the General Operations Force’s 4th Battalion, Semenyih, 3rd Battalion Senoi Praaq unit; Fire and Rescue Department; Civil Defence Force; People’s Voluntary Corps (RELA); and Sarawak Forest Department as well as local residents.
Nora’ aunt set up an online fundraising page in the aftermath of her disappearance, which has so far collected more than £90,000.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Paul Thompson and Sophie Law