The family of a London teen found dead after she mysteriously vanished from a Malaysian nature resort last year has sued the resort owner for alleged negligence and appealed to the government for an inquest to determine what happened to her, their lawyer said Tuesday.
Nora Anne Quoirin's disappearance from her family's cottage at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on Aug. 4 sparked a massive search operation. Her naked body was discovered August 13 beside a small stream about 2.5km from the resort.
Police have said there was no sign the teen was abducted or raped, with a preliminary autopsy showing the 15-year-old succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.
Sankara Nair, lawyer for her parents Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, said the family strongly believed Nora was abducted as she has mental and physical disabilities and couldn't have wandered off on her own.
The lawsuit says a cottage window was found ajar, its latch broken, the morning she disappeared.
The resort gate was left open at all times without any security and there was no surveillance camera except for the reception area, it said. Nora had poor motor skills and needed help to walk and her mental age was about 5 or 6 years old, her parents' said in the claim.
"The place was not safe for the child because of the negligence ... anybody could have come in and taken the child," Sankara told reporters outside a court in Negeri Sembilan after a procedural session on the case.
Nora's parents are seeking more than 180,000 ringgit ($67,000) for losses, bereavement costs and damages for pain and sufferings from resort owner Helen Marion Todd. Todd's lawyers weren't immediately available for comment.
Sankara said the family asked Malaysia's attorney-general to launch an inquest because the post-mortem would not include what happened to Nora before her death. Police have said a complete post-mortem report would be released soon.
Nora's parents previously said they were shocked Malaysian prosecutors classified Nora's death as "no further action" based on the preliminary coroner's report, essentially ruling out any inquest.
They said the move could prevent justice being done.
"It is crucial to understand how Nóra came to be found where she was. As a vulnerable child, with significant physical and mental challenges, we strongly refute any conclusion that Nóra was alone for the entire duration of her disappearance," they said in a statement issued by the Lucie Blackman Trust, a charity that helps families of Britons in crisis overseas.
"We have repeatedly asked the police to clarify answers to our questions in this regard – and we have been repeatedly ignored," they said.