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Nora Quoirin: France opens criminal probe into teenager's death

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By Caroline Mortimer  & Cristina Abellan-Matamoros  with Reuters
Nora Quoirin's family arrive to identify her body in Seremban
Nora Quoirin's family arrive to identify her body in Seremban

The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a criminal investigation into the death of a teenager found dead in a Malaysian jungle, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Wednesday.

Malaysian authorities have confirmed that the body of Nora Quoirin, who had learning difficulties, had been found 10 days after she went missing near a stream around 2.5km from the rain forest resort in Seremban where she had been on her holiday with her family.

Local police say they expect the results of an autopsy later in the day.

"The Paris prosecutor had opened a criminal investigation into Quoirin's case for kidnapping on Friday," a spokeswoman told Reuters in a text message.

French authorities often launch investigations involving French citizens abroad. Quoirin's mother is from Belfast while her father is French.

Malaysia's Negeri Sembilan state police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop declined to comment on the French investigation, reported Reuters.

The family’s lawyer Sankara N. Nair called on Malaysian police to accept the help from French authorities.

"It's a very good proposal. I hope police will accept the assistance," Nair told Reuters.

Earlier, Quoirin's family said they will not demand a criminal investigation into her death.

Nair said: “They won’t press for anything because in this country, even in most countries, it has to be done by the police rather than you pressing for anything.

“They have to go on evidence. The family is totally distraught. Totally overwhelmed.”

A British charity which helps the families of people who go missing or are killed abroad, the Lucie Blackman Trust, has been providing support to the family.

They said the family had initially suspected a criminal connection to Nora’s disappearance as she was very vulnerable and had never left her family voluntarily before.

Read more: Body found in Malaysia confirmed as missing teenager Nora Quoirin

On Monday, her family had offered a 50,000 Malaysia Ringgit (€10,600) reward "for information leading to the return of their daughter".

The money had been donated "by an anonymous Belfast business," according to a statement.

"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," the family also said in the statement.

Two crowdfunding appeals had been launched to help in the search, one by Nora's Irish aunt, Aisling Agnew and another by Pacome Quoirin, her French uncle.

STATEMENT FROM NORA QUOIRIN’S FAMILY: We would like to thank all the people that have been searching for Nóra and...

Publiée par Lucie Blackman Trust sur Mardi 13 août 2019

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the Irish and French embassies in Malaysia were "working together to provide every assistance to the Quoirin family."

Malaysia’s deputy police chief, Mazlan Mansor, said on Tuesday an initial investigation revealed no evidence of criminal behaviour but police would look at all possibilities.