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Malaysian police question 20 in search for Irish teen

Malaysian police question 20 in search for Irish teen
Members of Malaysian rescue team take part in a search and rescue operation for 15-year-old Irish girl Nora Anne Quoirin who went missing from a resort in Seremban, Malaysia, August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng -
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LIM HUEY TENG(Reuters)
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Seremban, MALAYSIA (Reuters) – Malaysian police questioned at least 20 people in the search for an Irish teenager who disappeared from a holiday resort this week, as more than 200 searchers, dogs and two drones scoured the surrounding thickly-forested area, police said on Wednesday.

Nora Anne Quoirin, 15, was reported missing on Sunday, a day after her family had arrived at the Dusun resort in Seremban, a town about 70 km (44 miles) south of Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Police interviewed Quoirin’s family and resort staff, and swept the hotel room where she was last seen for fingerprints, police official Che Zakaria Othman told a news conference.

“Our forensics team has gone through the entire building, and the investigation process is still ongoing,” added Che Zakaria, the deputy police chief of the state of Negri Sembilan, where Seremban is located.

Authorities deployed two drones for an aerial search over an area of 6 square km (2.3 square miles) around the resort, perched on the edge of a sprawling forest reserve.

More than 200 people are sweeping the area, assisted by canine units, police said, with a checkpoint also set up on the road to the resort.

Che Zakaria said police are still treating the disappearance as a missing persons case, but did not rule out the possibility that she may have been kidnapped.

Quoirin’s family believe she was abducted and questioned Malaysian authorities’ refusal to redesignate her case, media said. Reuters has been unable to contact the family.

Che Zakaria said officials still believed she was somewhere in the area around the resort, in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

Quoirin, who has a learning disability, could not have gone far, he added.

“We still have hope of finding her,” he said.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff)

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