SEREMBAN, Aug 26 — A district police chief testified in the Coroner’s Court today, giving his firsthand account of what transpired on the fateful day that Irish-French teen Nora Anne Quoirin’s body was found after she was reported missing by her family last year.
Testifying as the third witness at the inquest proceedings to determine the cause of Quoirin’s death, Nilai police chief Superintendent Mohd Nor Marzukee Besar recalled that he was initially informed of the discovery of a body within the search-and-rescue operation area through one of his subordinates on August 13, 2019 or 10 days after search operations were launched to locate the girl.
According to Mohd Nor Marzukee, Pantai police station chief Sergeant Major Adenan Kamsan was the police officer who had informed him of the development around 2pm.
“I was informed by OCS Pantai (officer-in-charge of station) that a People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel had told him of a local Indian man who claimed to have found a corpse in an oil palm estate located within our operation area.
“I then instructed him (Adenan) to contact the Rela personnel to get in touch with the Indian man again to obtain the exact location of the body. At the same time, I also received orders from the Negri Sembilan police chief to head to the location as well after briefing him of the latest development,” he testified before Coroner Maimoonah Aid.
On the local man who had found the body, Mohd Nor Marzukee said he had volunteered to join the search for Nora Anne and was part of a group of 24 hikers assigned to one of the search zones that had set out at around noon that same day.
Mohd Nor Marzukee also revealed that it was discovered later that the Rela personnel was not involved in the search operation, but instead was assigned to keep watch near a security checkpoint set up between The Dusun resort and the road leading out of the property.
Recalling further, Mohd Nor Marzukee also said they found it difficult to maintain contact with the aforementioned man as their calls frequently disconnected due to poor signal coverage.
Nonetheless, Mohd Nor Marzukee said he and Adenan then hurried to the checkpoint where the Rela personnel was to obtain a clearer picture.
Arriving at the checkpoint, Mohd Nor Marzukee said they managed to speak to the hiker who had found the body briefly and obtain a glimpse of the supposed location where the body was found.
“We then decided to head towards the plantation several minutes later, with only the sound of our shouting to determine where this Indian man was supposed to be as we had no clue as to the exact location (of the body).
“I think we kept on walking, and we came to an area with thick shrubbery. We then heard a very faint response to our shouts.
“We kept on calling out towards the estate to determine which direction the faint response had come from we were going back and forth, left and right even backtracking on our steps.
“Finally, the response slowly became clearer and we met up with the Indian man probably about five or 10 minutes (after we left the checkpoint),” he said.
Mohd Nor Marzukee said the man then led the rescue team to the rest of the hikers about 30 metres away where the body was located.
“Upon reaching the location, I saw a body lying near a stream. I did not inspect the body or the scene to avoid contamination of an investigation scene,” he said.
Securing the investigation scene
As the commander-in-charge of the overall search-and-rescue operation, Mohd Nor Marzukee said he subsequently took the initiative to cordon off the area where the body was found to ensure it was not disturbed further, and then ordered a senior Vat 69 Commando who was with him at the time to immediately map out the area.
“At that time, I confirmed it was the corpse of a female who was found near a stream unclothed.
“She was lying on her left side,” he said.
When asked why the area needed to be mapped out, Mohd Nor Marzukee explained that this was to make it easier for the helicopter pilot to determine their exact location to recover the body after taking into account the surrounding geography that was inaccessible by conventional vehicles.
Nora Anne, a 15-year-old with physical and learning difficulties, disappeared from The Dusun resort last year where she was staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of searchers.
Her body was discovered about 2.5km from the jungle retreat and an autopsy found that she likely died of internal bleeding linked to starvation after spending about a week in the dense rainforest.