The death of Nóra Quoirin was most likely due to misadventure, a coroner has found.
The French-Irish teenager's body was found near a Malaysian jungle resort where she vanished while on holiday.
Coroner Maimoonah Aid ruled out homicide, natural death and suicide and said the 15-year-old likely got lost after leaving her family’s cottage on her own.
She disappeared at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on August 4, 2019, a day after her family arrived for a holiday.
After an extensive search, her body was found on August 13 beside a stream on a palm oil estate about 1.6 miles from the resort.
Police believed she climbed out of the cottage window on her own, with no evidence of any foul play.
But Nóra’s parents said she was likely kidnapped because she had mental and physical disabilities and would not have wandered off on her own.
The coroner described that possibility as a theory and said it would be a breach of her duty to speculate on third-party involvement without any evidence.
Nóra was only wearing underwear when she went missing, but her body was found naked.
The coroner noted the family’s contention this lent credence to the possibility of sexual assault but said an extensive autopsy could find no such proof, nor evidence of struggle marks or smothering.
Ms Aid also said there were no suspicious circumstances prior to the teenager’s disappearance, no ransom request and no signs of intrusion into the family cottage.
“I ruled that there was no-one involved in the death of Nora Anne. It is more probable than not that she died by misadventure, i.e. that she had gone out of the (cottage) on her own and subsequently got lost in the abundant palm oil plantation,” the coroner said.
Nóra’s parents, who listened to the online verdict from their home in London, have since released a statement expressing their dissapointment at the ruling - maintaining their belief that their daughter was abducted.
"We are utterly disappointed by the Coroner’s verdict of misadventure. We witnessed 80 slides presented to the court today, none of which engaged with who Nóra really was – neither her personality nor her intellectual abilities," they said.
They continued: "It is indeed our view that to know Nóra would be to know that she was simply incapable of hiding in undergrowth, climbing out a window and/or making her way out of a fenced resort in the darkness unclothed (all of which were presented today as probable theory).
"Once again we see that justice struggles to support the most vulnerable in society – only engaging with special needs at a surface level – and not at the level that truly reflects children like Nóra."
They concluded: "We believe we have fought not just for Nóra but in honour of all the special needs children in this world who deserve our most committed support and the most careful application of justice. This is Nóra’s unique legacy and we will never let it go.”
A total of 49 witnesses testified over 24 days at the inquest, which began last August, using video-conferencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.