Excerpt from NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST

Author’s Note: One of the idiosyncrasies of the Quoirin case was the unprecedented length of the autopsy. It dragged on and on for hours, and then into a second day. When the results finally came out confusion persisted. After the marathon autopsy it still seemed hard to tell exactly how the 15-year-old had died. Except it wasn’t.

Marathon Autopsy

At 14:30, the Malaysian police cordoned off the access road to The Dusun Resort with yellow police tape. Initial access to the scene was slow. Getting her body out of the area wasn’t going to be quick, or easy. A local offered an officer a ride closer to where Nora lay on the back of his scooter.

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But the message behind the fluttering, bright yellow tape was clear. The authorities had recovered a dead child, bruised and naked from a streambed, and the area was now a crime scene. But was it?

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As mentioned earlier, the Quoirin family arrived in the area in a black sedan at 16:07. It’s not clear why they were summoned to the scene, or whether they were taken to where Nora lay in situ, or whether this delayed the transport of Nora’s body to a nearby hospital.

At 18:26 local time [11:26 London-time] and about an hour before sunset, a red, blue and white helicopter buzzed over the scene. Once in position over a densely forested gyhll [or ravine] the chopper lowered a basket down to cops and rescuers workers gathered below.

BBC news crews recorded the chopper winching up a basket with Nora’s body, supported by a police officer. As the dead child and officer spun upward, a warm, impenetrable forest hovered thickly behind it. Finally, the chopper turned and clattered off towards Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital, the biggest hospital in Negeri Sembilan.

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The government hospital is just 25 minutes’ drive by car, southwest of The Dusun Resort. By chopper no more than half that time. At 19:07 the chopper drifted down, out of the sunless sky, towards a single traffic controller wearing an orange vest and military fatigues motioning within both arms on the ground. The chopper landed softly on a wide swath of green lawn adjacent to the hospital. Once the rotors had wound down around a dozen personnel in blue fatigues, orange berets and wearing surgical masks [and gloves] stormed the chopper.

An ambulance approached swiftly and parked near the edge of the rotors. A stretcher was hauled out and wheeled to the open doors of the chopper. A large, green canvas bag was pulled out of it. One of the personnel near the front of the stretcher pulled out a phone and snapped a photo. Nora’s body was transferred to the stretcher, while the same individual with the phone snapped more photos, and then lifted into the ambulance.

The rear hatch was closed, and the ambulance quickly headed to the Jabatan Perubatan forensic section of the hospital, a nondescript, somewhat rundown building.

Meanwhile, the Quoirin family who had rushed to the scene, were rushing back to the hospital, trying to catch-up to their daughter’s body. Other family members were alerted. It’s not clear whether the media were instructed not to photograph Nora’s parents and siblings, or whether…

3 thoughts on “Excerpt from NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST

  1. It’s a good book – have read it this weekend. I’d puzzled about why she hadn’t heard the police and soldiers searching for her, but the hypothesis that she would have been scared by the shouting for her, foreign voices of strangers and dogs sounds very feasible. It’s heartbreaking what this poor girl must have gone through in those few days.

    I think the pm took so long because at that point the Malaysian authorities were so aware of family and press pointing the finger that they wanted to over check the findings. Could also explain taking family to the site – to prove she was found there. Let’s face it, all the above with helicopters etc wouldn’t have happened with a local person who was missing and found deceased. The irony there being if they’d have been left alone to do their normal response based on local knowledge, they may have found her earlier. Sometimes having the power to affect things isn’t necessarily for the best.

    One wild card i’d like to add. When the toxicology results come out, I wonder if it’s possible that she could have eaten some toxic plant matter that contributed to or caused the gastric bleed. Apparently castor oil plants (ricin) grow there along with a host of other plants you wouldn’t want to ingest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting about accidentally ingesting a noxious plant. I didn’t think of that!

      I also read the book. I think the thing that pissed me off was that the family used a picture of Nora in front of a waterfall that wasn’t the waterfall in question, as if to allude to her already having ambled towards the waterfall. That seems deceptive to me. Why not circulate a more recent photo? Then, I wonder if Mrs. Quoirin did mention the waterfall to the police and it was lost in translation. So many questions.

      My take away is that Nora suffered an incredibly lonely, painful, and frightening fate.

      Liked by 1 person

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