Authorities in Malaysia say they are certain that the body of a nude teen found near a stream in the Dusun rain forest is that of a 15-year-old missing Irish teenager with learning disabilities.
The teen, Nora Anne Quoirin, disappeared in the early morning hours of Aug. 4 from a resort in Seremban where she was vacationing with her family. She was last seen barefoot and wearing only a night shirt.
“Nora is our first child,” the family said in a statement after she disappeared. “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.”
Police say they are sure the body they found Tuesday is the missing girl, but are awaiting a final identification by the family.
“We are very certain,” Malaysia Deputy Police Chief Mazlan Mansor told reporters Tuesday, according to Reuters. “But we wait [until] tonight when the family visits the hospital.”
Mansor said the body had been found by a volunteer on the 10th day of a nationwide search in an area that had previously been checked thoroughly about a mile from the resort. More than 350 people were involved in the search. The volunteer who found the body had returned to the area after being told the teen had been excited to visit a local waterfall nearby before she disappeared.
On Monday, locals called in a handful of shamans, who conducted rituals to help the search. Shaman Khalid Mohamad told reporters that he believed the teen was “lured by a genie,” referring to the invisible spirit many Muslims believe presents as human or animal.
The dense forest made it difficult to remove the body, which eventually had to be hoisted out by helicopter.
Authorities had launched a criminal investigation into the disappearance of the teen, who her family say had limited communication skills and who had never been on her own alone. Though the family frequently took the vulnerable teen on vacation, they say she had never before wandered off on her own. A reward for nearly $12,000 was offered in the local currency for information about the young woman.