Read Not All Who Wander Are Lost avalable on Amazon.
Months after Nora Quoirin’s disappearance and death [from exposure and starvation] in the Malaysian jungle, the Quoirin’s are back in the news, demanding an inquest. This is something of a mismatch when, following Nora’s tragic death, the family asked for privacy, and demanded an end to speculation. When the offer was made to do a second autopsy, they rejected it.
But then they conducted one in Ireland. The results are still outstanding. Curiously in their statement to the media they’re doing the same thing the McCanns did – blaming the police for acting too slowly, and accusing the authorities of a botched investigation. If Nora was missing for 10 days, then an investigation delayed by ten minutes or ten hours wasn’t going to make much difference. They still have nine days to find her.
And while the Quoirins demanded the authorities focus their search far afield, Nora was ultimately found very close to the hotel, in a location that to date has still not been definitively identified and demarcated.
On Saturday, August 10th, three days before Nora’s body was found, her mother made a statement thanking the police searchers. This was also the day after the family released a statement describing Nora’s “vulnerabilities”. Friday was very late in the search [which had started on Monday] to be making this clear.
One aspect that stood out in that latest statement [released on August 9th], was Nora’s apparent lack of co-ordination and her ability to balance. On the one hand they said she was struggling to ride a bike, on the other hand she was enjoying going for walks with her family [and there are also family photos of her doing so].
But the mere notion that Nora was trying to ride a bike and able to go to school on her own suggests that her balance and co-ordination was impinged, not seriously curtailed.
The images below confirm this impression. In the first, it appears Nora is the only one of the three children [their faces have been blurred to protect their identities] “struggling with her balance”. But that’s if we see the image in isolation.
In the next image we see Nora actually riding [balancing] on her scooter, unassisted, moments after the children in front of her have cruised down the hill towards the photographer.
In the second image, the child in the yellow dress appears to be struggling – or simply stopping – on the bicycle. The man looking after them is closer to the child in the yellow dress than to Nora. The distance between the children and the length of the road also shows that although Nora wasn’t able to keep up with her able-bodied peers, she was able to join them on their excursion regardless.
But the emphasis on Nora’s “limitedness” made it seem as if Nora would never go wandering off by herself. We can clearly see that if she wanted to, she could, and very likely did.
Bruised grey skies skulked over a chilly scene in a Belfast street. The optics spoke volumes, didn’t they? Nora’s family gathered on the other side of a secure perimeter, while a phalanx of reporters aimed their lenses at a corridor, trying to catch a glimpse through rows of pillars, of a retinue arriving in a pair of jet black Mercedes limousines.
If Sebastien, Innes and Maurice attended Nora’s funeral – and they did – the long lenses failed to find them. In video footage of the funeral there does seem to be a small brown-haired boy wandering between a tangle of legs. A small girl-child with a flower in her hair is carried into the church by an adult, but she appears too young to be Innes.
Only a single image was snapped of the late teenager’s mother. Meabh appeared to be holding something; a box of Nora’s ashes perhaps. Meabh appeared very different now to the worry-worn woman we last saw in Malaysia.
Once again, telephoto lenses had to navigate between brick pillars, a far cry from the jungle of soaring trunks in Malaysia, to catch a glimpse of the furtive family.
Bizarrely, though the media was overtly excluded from the ceremony, a selection of audio from the funeral, the funeral notice and a poem were nevertheless shared with the media. These selections sketched a tale of a rather different Nora to the one we outsiders have gotten to know thus far.
We don’t know whether any of Nora’s family members spoke on her behalf at the funeral. We don’t know who in the family stepped forward as spokesperson for Nora’s life, inside the church. Based on available media reports no one did. Those who spoke were Reverend Ruth Patterson and Father Edward O’ Donnell. No prayers were offered in lieu of the abductor [who is still out there, and on the run] that had brought such “unspeakable pain” to the family. If Nora was being remembered on this sad day, the abductor got a free pass, including in the media.
From a true crime perspective, the most valuable insight provided by the funeral was a more detailed sketch of Nora’s identity, personality and to some extent, a reframing of her capabilities.
Indirectly, another glimpse was provided into the Quoirin family dynamics.
THE TWO NORAS
Reverend Rev Ruth Patterson, a family friend and Presbyterian minister, said the young girl had been known as “Noisy Nora” by friends in Wandsworth, London. She said: “Nora loved school and her teachers. She especially loved food tech lessons where she made new dishes each week before phoning her granda to make him jealous about what she had cooked.”
The clergywoman said Nora had a fantastic memory and “wicked sense of humour” and “loved beasts and monsters like the Gruffalo and her pet tropical fish were called things like Butter and Toast, Ketchup, Hot Chocolate and Fishfingers.
“Nora loved playing with her Kindle. On one occasion her dad said ‘You’re spending too much time on your Kindle’ to which Nora replied: “Don’t worry Daddy, I‘m reading the Washington Post.”
Source: The Sun
In this description, Nora is fully formed, and fully functional.
On August 9th, when the family released a statement, Nora was described very differently:
“She is not like other teenagers. She is not independent and does not go anywhere alone. Nora was born with holoprosencephaly – this means that she has a smaller brain. All her life she has spent a lot of time in hospital. Her verbal communication is limited. She is unable to do maths and so things like money are impossible to manage. She cannot make or receive phone calls independently. She can wash and dress herself, though she cannot manage buttons, and struggles to wash her hair.”
Source: The Mirror
The mismatches are obvious.
- Nora can operate a Kindle and read articles from the Washington Post independently, but she can’t make a phone call.
- Nora can cook meals, but can’t wash her hair or do up buttons.
- Nora’s well-known to be noisy, which suggests she’s very communicative, even annoyingly so, versus “her verbal communication is limited”.
- Nora habitually called her grandfather after cooking classes but “she cannot make or receive calls independently”.
In sum, the funeral describes the deceased Nora as an independent, entrepreneurial and creative spirit, while the “statement” made while she was understood to be alive described Nora as helpless, hopelessly vulnerable and dependent, and severely limited in the most simple of ways.
It’s unlikely Nora’s condition was even mentioned at the funeral, whereas in the context of a police search the size of her brain was explicitly noted.
Back to the eulogy.
Her “crazy memory,” Rev Ruth Patterson added, meant the young girl could remember facts learned years before, such as how many steps were on the Eiffel Tower and what she had to eat “on her seventh birthday.”
Source: The Sun
Given the fact that Nora died of starvation, the mention of food here, what she ate and what she cooked in her “other life”, is saddening. But once again, the funeral sketches a Nora with strong cognitive faculties. If Nora had a good memory, then if she had wandered off, her memory would have served her well. What had she communicated to her family when she last saw them? That she was excited to see the waterfall. She may have reasoned that, although lost, maybe that’s where they’d be looking for her, and so that’s where she would make herself found. All she had to do was find a stream and follow it under it became a waterfall.
“She has been to Asia, and many European countries before, and has never wandered off or got lost. Nora is very sensitive. Outside the family, Nora is very shy and can be quite anxious.”
Source: The Mirror
The funeral provides an expansive sketch. The Eiffel Tower is an iconic landmark. How many people think of its dimensions in terms of physical steps to the top of the tower? Nora’s ability to remember meal feels superior to the average recall of ordinary people. Yet again, in the statement, Nora is described in a self-limiting manner – withdrawn, shy and anxious. Afraid of the world.
Whether there is some, little or much truth in these statements, it feels odd that her own family would feel so comfortable taking their daughter into these apparently unfathomable environments. Either Nora was extremely vulnerable and limited, or she wasn’t. The fact that she had been to many Asian and European countries by the age of fifteen clearly implies her parents didn’t regard her as limited as some statements suggested she was.
The image of a child unable to do her own buttons jibes with the idea of her not having the capacity to wander off. But this Other Nora, the one with a wicked sense of humour and a fascination for monsters and beasts, might be perfectly happy in the jungle, with all its bugs and creepy crawlies. After all, her favourite story, The Gruffalo, is set in a forest.
The Gruffalo is a story about a mouse with a wicked sense of humour, who takes the initiative to wander the jungle while giving various predators – a fox, an owl – the slip.
During his adventure, the mouse not only outsmarts critters he encounters, but he ultimately comes face to face with the fictitious beast from its own mind, and outsmarts it too. The whole story is about avoiding being a meal and ends with the mouse enjoying a meal, and peace of mind that felt good. This is a perfect psychological match for the world Nora entered on her first day in Malaysia. Would she have felt lost or afraid when she first wandered into it?
If this is one area of the psychological narrative that corresponds perfectly to the Nora in the jungles of Malaysia [she’s the mouse], there’s one other perfect match. The funeral on September 10th shares the consensus that what Nora loved most was cuddles with mummy.
Rev Patterson said what Nora loved most had been “cuddles with mummy.” Parish priest Fr Edward O’Donnell, who officiated alongside Nora’s great uncle Fr Pat Kelly, said the cheery young girl with the profound learning difficulty had been “very special.”
He added: “She brought so much joy to Meabh and Sebastien, to her sister, Innes, and to Maurice her brother, and to those of the wider family circle. She, as we all know, depended greatly on others but, Nora in turn gifted others with immeasurable love and joy; before such an ability we can only feel gratitude.”
Source: The Sun
When the statement was released during her disappearance, the “special time” for cuddles included a little addendum.
“Every night, her special time is for cuddles and a night-time story with her mum. And she was extremely excited about the family holiday in Malaysia.”
Source: The Mirror
If this was the usual ritual, it’s likely it was interrupted not just on the night Nora disappeared, but for the fews – and perhaps longer – preceding the incident. We know tha if Meabh was the family members closest to her eldest daughter, and most sought after, she was also often away, often far away. A week before the family met in Malaysia, Meabh was in Sydney on business. Her social media is festooned with trips to Boston, Dallas and New York, especially over the last two years.
As the busy CEO of Foresight Factory, and as a thought leader and trendsetter, there was a lot of pressure on Meabh to be everywhere, to make speeches, to build momentum in the industry and to evangelise the competitive world of brands and marketing agencies.
Where was Nora in all this?
In virtually all the images released to the media, Nora appears by herself. The very special girl who brought so much joy to her parents and siblings, is invariably photographed with no one around her, especially in photos of Nora as an older child.
There is one exception; the image of Nora – a chubbier Nora – sitting beside her mother.
At the funeral a poem from six years earlier was read, not by Meabh, but by Reverend Ruth Patterson.
If this poem was written in 2013, when Nora was nine, it nevertheless provides yet another version of the unique person Nora was once upon a time. It also further illustrates the family dynamics that emerged around Nora’s unusual condition. Obviously the analysis that follows is only one interpretation among several other possibilities:
One part of my [me] is a part unknown, – one of my children is unknown, mysterious
The truth within I know defies, – the truth within Nora, or within her mother, defies the odds, an ironic statement to be sure given the “defiance” of the abduction narrative when Nora disappeared
Not true to mind but true in time, – Nora had been left out of the psychological equation of her own disappearance from the very beginning
The tutor in my life has come. – Nora’s existence is being compared to a “life lesson”
One core to mine is a core passed on, – by figuring out Nora’s situation, by mining her mysterious core, valuable insights can be passed on to others
Its path untraced, its vision blurred, – the reason behind Nora’s condition is unclear, the path ahead uncertain
It reaches heights I cannot learn, -this suggests Meabh felt overwhelmed, at times, with the parental task ahead of her
Instinctive and still brave it runs. – this seems to be a reference to Nora herself, who acts instinctively, and in spite of her condition, bravely
One raucous squeal of hilarity, – this might be the description of a specific moment – from Noisy Nora, or it may be symbolic of Nora’s whole life as Meabh sees it – one long, raucous [unpleasant] squeal of hilarity [something that is fun, but perhaps at someone else’s expense]
Of teasing, squashing, caring fame, – this speaks of the dynamics. None of these words sound positive, and “caring fame” has a strange, almost ominous ring to it. The family become famous as carers of a disabled person
The constant turn of fortunes games, – this is a repeat of an ominous sense of being overwhelmed by fate’s wicked sense of humour
No fun, no punch an easy peace. – this really hits it on the chin, doesn’t it? No fun, no peace, not easy…
One memory is sure and raw, – the sure and raw memory may be the overarching narrative of Nora herself
A glance of free unusual thought, – Nora is a bundle of “unusual thoughts”, and perhaps someone sees her life as a glance, rather than the richer, more self-aware business that most of us have to mull through. This may be a reference to Nora not being quite here with us, not fully conscious. Her ability to share the reality of others is only a glancing one.
Preserves the smiles with every cost, – keeping up a brave face is hard, and extracts a cost
Reflects at rest in bewildered awe. – bewildered and awe are juxtaposed. Bewildered is a negative emotion, awe is positive. What is bewildered awe? Perhaps the feeling one gets as one gets lost in a jungle…
One rebel must beside me stay, – this could be a reference to Nora, or the rebellious thoughts a mother must keep to herself [her constant companion] as she struggles to care for her child. In hindsight, this also feels like the rebellion of the abduction narrative. It’s not real, but it’s necessary for the greater good of the family
The eldest, innocent my care, – this comes right at the end. This is an admission, an acknowledgement of Meabh’s obvious responsibility to look after Nora. The use of “innocence” here is psychological mirroring, even then, of guilt. Obviously Nora is innocent, but so are her two siblings. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, and yet it is. In fact many of the media latched onto this very word – innocent – following Nora’s funeral. But it’s not innocence, it’s the idea of innocence. Though she was a burden, though she was dependent, though she was noisy, vulnerable and unfathomable, she couldn’t help it, she was innocent. The word hides those negative things behind it, inside of it. In a scenario where the other growing children were showing growing independence, and Nora was not, and where they perhaps required more of their parents attention, stealing precious time away from “precious Nora”, Nora’s “innocence” becomes an issue. Possibly at times it became a crisis. We know Nora’s exit from this world was an ongoing crisis, and one without the fairytale ending of the Gruffalo
The poem ends with two more lines:
No more anxious notes, the prayer, – Nora’s mother is praying for no more anxious moments [a hopeless prayer at the time, but after Nora’s passing, so does the anxiety of her care]. In the church setting, and funeral, there is no talk of responsibility. Instead there is a sentimental refrain of some other, happier, more functional Nora who no longer exists. She is given into the void with a prayer of happiness and acceptance, rather than regret, contrition, or tears
For the gruffest angel ever made. – this is a powerful ending. Nora associated herself with a story where a mouse invents a monster, and then is confronted by it. The mouse then inverts the story, and effectively becomes the monster, or uses the shadow of the monster to wander through the forest. In this sense there is subtle allusion to Nora being a monster of sorts, but also a mouse, an innocent, harmless child, the most “ever made”. In the end, the story of the mouse wandering the woods is the story of an organism trying to finds its way through the woods without getting lost, and while keeping its wits.
The fairy tale proves to be powerful allegory for Nora’s real life adventure in the woods of Malaysia.
The poem proves to be powerful allegory too.
In these – the fairy tale and poem – Nora’s future could be read and her tragic fate anticipated, and thus avoided, even if only in the symbolic sense.
…One rebel must beside me stay…The eldest, innocent my care…
But that would require the writer of the poem and the reader of the fairy tale book to be there in the same capacity, with the same level of care, three, four, five, six years later. There as a genuine reader of the words, and there as a genuine listener of them as well. As thing stand, Nora’s story isn’t a story of innocence, but of innocence lost.
Fifteen years ago, on a joy filled afternoon, Meabh and Sebastien, together with all the family, came to this Church and carried Nora to the Baptismal Font. There, with great confidence, they prayed that God would send his Holy Spirit to dwell within Nora.
And she was indeed a bearer of that Spirit, evidenced in her gentleness and her innocence. Nora was very special, she brought so much joy to Meabh and Sebastien, to her sister, Innes, and to Maurice her brother, and to those of the wider family circle.
She, as we all know, depended greatly on others but, Nora in turn, gifted others with immeasurable love and joy; before such an ability we can only feel gratitude. Today we return to St. Brigid’s united in the unspeakable pain of Nora’s tragic death, united too in wordless sympathy for Nora’s family. I ask myself, as surely you must do, “What is the meaning of this terrible pain that has been inflicted on Nora’s family?”
We have, have we not, found ourselves wondering if God is good and has for us the love that no human love can match, why then is there such suffering in our world? We do not understand, and our stumbling words are so terribly inadequate.
The heartfelt cry of the Psalmist keeps coming to mind: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, Lord, hear my voice. O let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleading.” (Ps. 129) Those very words encourage me to raise my voice in complaint and say; “Lord, for ten days the world was united with Meabh and Sebastien imploring that you be attentive to the voice of our pleading. But our prayer for Nora’s safe return was not answered. We simply ask “why?” “Why, O Lord, why? Where are you in these the darkest of days?”
Yet, even as I voice my complaint my eyes drift to the Crucifix and my ears hear yet again the anguished cry of Jesus from that Cross, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” (Mt.27:47)
And I am reminded immediately that the cry of Jesus from the Cross, while one of deep distress, was not one of despair. I hear him say to us in this moment, “Trust in God still, and trust in me.” (Jn.14:1) We know that God did not intervene to save his own Son from a cruel and apparently pointless death. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the friends of Jesus who stood with her beneath the Cross, were just as devastated as Meabh and Sebastien and their family are today.
But Jesus’ trust was not in vain; he was not abandoned to death, nor his mother and friends to desolation. Neither does God abandon us. The resurrection is God’s assurance that death does not have the last word.
In the pain of this moment, in the shadow of Nora’s death, we raise our eyes to the Crucifix. Christian faith does not give us, in this life, the answers to all our questions, but it does give us the conviction that we have a future; life doesn’t end in nothingness – Nora’s life is now “hidden with Christ in God” (Col.3:3); we entrust her now into the Lord’s arms there to be eternally caressed by that Divine gaze of love.
We who grieve for Nora hold her memory in love believing that all the bonds of love and affection which bind us together throughout our lives do not unravel with death.
A holocaust survivor from Auschwitz told how he survived in the midst of horrendous suffering; he said, “I grasped a great secret……..salvation is through love and in love. I understood how someone who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss…” (cf Victor Frankl, Man’s search for meaning) Meabh and Sebastien, Innes and Maurice, remember Nora’s love for you, and know that she still loves you, and as you continue to love her, love one another.
The bond of love holds strong, not because we practice it as a duty, but because it is our destiny. Love is the reality of our future glimpsed even in the incompleteness and messiness of our present lives – as one might glimpse a reflection in a mirror.
This is enough to urge us on to keep practising the art of love until that day when we all meet in Christ, and behold face-to-face the one who is Love. (cf Cor.13) The Evangelist tells us, “God is love” (Jn.4:8)
My friends, if we leave here to-day with a renewed conviction that in the end “love bears all things….endures all things” (1Cor.13:7), then Nora, this most special child, this most loved and loving child, has endowed us with an extraordinary parting gift. Amen.
Source: The Irish News
On the same day as Nora Quoirin’s funeral at St Brigid’s Church, Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast, two news items caught my attention. The first was another fundraiser, ostensibly by the Lucie Blackman Trust to help fund the launch of their services for other Irish families in similar circumstances, in Nóra’s memory.
In other words, donate to “help fund the launch of the Lucie Blackman Trust…” We don’t even know the exact circumstances of what happened to Nora, but the Trust are confidently asking for donations to help other families in similar circumstances.
Did the Lucie Blackman Trust do anything to actually help find Nora, or assist in the investigation whatsoever? What they did do was act as spokesman; they were responsible for spreading the dubious abductor story, which put the Quoirin family at cross purposes with the police who were trying to look for their daughter.
A strong argument can be made that if it wasn’t for the interference and pressure of foreign media and bogus McCann-inspired abductor yarn, the searches would have remained nearer the resort where Nora was ultimately found. If that happened Nora may have been found sooner, and found alive. Nora didn’t die the day she went missing, she starved to death over a period of a week, more than enough time for the people on the ground searching for her to find her.
By splitting up the search resources into those searching for a Wandering Nora and those searching for an Abducted Nora, this may be why Nora wasn’t found until it was too late.
Alternatively, one may say there are still unanswered questions, say as whether Nora was moved to where she was found by some invisible entity or phantasm. But if there are lingering questions, no one seems interested in answering them any longer. The family have moved on, the media have moved on [except to criticize this site for daring to investigate beyond the media narrative], and apparently even the Trust have moved on in terms of fundraising for other families in so-called similar circumstances.
At the official Nora Quoirin memorial page, one has to pay £14 in order to leave a “note of sympathy”.
The other story that caught my attention was one conflating the discovery of of a missing Russian child with her parents, after a 20 year disappearance. Written by the McCann-scribe and arch apologist
“Yulia was almost the same age as little Maddie when she mysteriously vanished from a train travelling from the Belarus capital of Minsk 20 years ago as her dad slept. She somehow ended up more than 550 miles away in Ryazan, in neighbouring Russia, three weeks later, where cops were unable to trace her parents and gave her up for adoption.”
Yulia didn’t “somehow end up 550 miles away”. She was on a train. That’s how she got to where she was found. While her father slept during the 60-mile train journey from Minsk to Asipovichy, Yulia wandered off [probably elsewhere in the train]. What’s so mysterious about that?
According to the media “it remains unclear how Yulia got from Asipovichy to Ryazan”.
It’s not unclear at all. Ryazan is a few miles east of Moscow, the Russian capital. Trains tend to radiate outward from large urban centres, and after terminating at smaller cities and towns, they invariably return to these same centres. That’s what happened to Yulia.
Yulia was found on a railway siding, and ended up growing up there. She still lives there today. The media use the words “lost” to describe her, not kidnapped, or abducted. And where was Yulia reconciled with her family? At a police station, the one place where the McCanns didn’t want to be in Portugal. And when they were summoned, they refused to answer questions put to them.
Given the innocent circumstances of Yulia Gorina, her parents had every reason to hope that she was alive. There was no reason to think she’d been taken, and rather than that being their first thought, it was more likely their last.
Interestingly, though the parents searched frantically for their child, the parents were widely believed to have killed their little girl, although charges were never filed against them. Naturally
Ultimately Yulia wasn’t taken by a sinister pedophile ring or predator abductor. She was found – a little girl lost – by local police. When no parents could be found in the area, she was given up for adoption. Guess how she was reunited with her family? Her boyfriend did a simple internet search.
The McCann case is very different, and any sensible person [and sensible media] would know there is more evidence suggesting Madeleine is dead, and died in apartment 5A more than 12 years ago, than that she’s alive. If she is alive, and safe, she could do an internet search too, assuming she somehow missed the world’s largest manhunt for a person, and associated media coverage. So why doesn’t she?
One of the reasons I wanted to write about the Quoirin case was to debunk the lunacy of the McCann saga infecting this case. One could see a mile off that sticky taping abductor over this case was going to all end in tears, and that’s what happened – the disastrous results of this case were predictable and preventable.
The McCann case isn’t the proper or professional way to investigate a missing persons case, it’s not a blueprint how to deal with a missing child situation, it’s precisely how not to report on or investigate one.
Overall the media coverage of the Quoirin case was biased, misinformed and flat-out barking up the wrong tree. In this sense, the media are somewhat culpable for where Nora and her family find themselves on the tragic day her remains are finally laid to rest. Will any lessons be learned from this? And, at the end of the day, who is responsible for infecting the narrative the way this one was?
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.
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.
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.
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…
A message was sent to the CrimeRocket contact page today by someone identifying herself as an”Irish freelance journalist”. Listed below are the five questions sent by the journalist.
- How did you turn a book on this case around so quickly?
- Would this not leave you open to allegations of shoddy research or paraphrasing the work of journalists who covered this case.
- It seems incomprehensible that a book could be published so quickly on this very sensitive story especially since the young girl’s funeral (as far as we know) has still not taken place.
- Did you contact the family before you self published?
- Was this merely an attempt by yourself to cash in on the public interest in this mystery?
It’s clear that the journalist in question has a negative bias against the work done by CrimeRocket on this case, and that the attitude is, on the whole, undermining of the attempts made to research and investigate the Quoirin case.
While researching NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST it was clear the media narrative was being carefully and strategically controlled in a professional manner by professional players. This didn’t make sense in terms of the circumstances of the case. It also didn’t make sense that the parents were absolutely certain an abductor was involved, despite the police repeatedly saying it was more likely Nora had wandered off. In the end, is there more evidence of an abduction or a child wandering off and getting lost?
One thing that was clear, was that the media narrative was being fueled from abroad, rather than engaging where it mattered – in Malaysia. If Nora was abducted in Negeri Sembilan, then why not engage with the media in Negeri Sembilan? How could the British, Irish and French media serve any other purpose besides pressuring the police in an already difficult and fraught situation?
If it was clear that the media’s strings were being actively pulled, it was also clear that such a player would perhaps not appreciate a narrator who was not part of this media ecosystem, influencing the narrative. That possibility remains, and this “contact” may well be part of that.
In terms of the questions:
1. How did you turn a book on this case around so quickly?
For one thing, blogging on a daily basis on the case meant a lot of information was aggregated and analysed early. To date 38 blog posts have been published on CrimeRocket2, or roughly 1.65 posts on the Quoirin case per day. This post is the 39th, and the first in direct response to an inquiry from the media. CrimeRocket has also actively discussed this case on social media, including at the hashtag #NoraQuoirin.
The book on Nora Quoirin is the 93rd Rocket Science book, and the 8th book written in 2019. All 8 books were written within a similar turnaround cycle.
Just as the first Chris Watts book was published on September 10, 2018, three weeks after the Watts Family Murders, NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST was published on a similar turnaround time. The ambit of CrimeRocket is to deliver superlative analysis fast, as the Mission Statement below illustrates:
From CrimeRocket Toolbox:
Rocket Science Mission Statement:
- To conduct a thorough search of something
- A thorough test in order to make sure there are no problems or defects
There’s a reason why authentic true crime narratives need to exist. Counterfeit narratives exist in the public domain. The only way to answer counterfeit narratives is to counter them, which is what the authentic narratives seek to do.
TCRS Unique Selling Proposition:
To deliver accurate, accessible true crime narratives quicker, better and more effectively than anyone else.
2. Would [writing a book quickly] not leave you open to allegations of shoddy research or paraphrasing the work of journalists who covered this case. [No question mark to this question]
You don’t seem to have done your research into CrimeRocket. You seem to have absolutely no idea what it’s about.
One could apply the criticism of shoddy journalism equally to many of the reporters covering this case, where, for example, there has been little journalistic consistency on a range of issues, including:
- Whether Nora slept upstairs, downstairs or in her own room
- Whether it was Nora’s bedroom window that was open, and whether it was the upstairs window, downstairs window or in the window in the lounge/kitchen area
- Where precisely the trail of the sniffer dogs stopped? This would indicate for example where Nora was going when she wandered off [if she] or where she was abducted [if she was]. One would imagine this evidence would be vital and yet it wasn’t even addressed
- The exact area where Nora’s body was found has been identified as 600 metres from the resort, and at various other distances up to 2.5 kilometres
It beggars belief that on such fundamental questions, the media doesn’t seem to know or care about the answers.
Besides this, a battle has waged in the media over whether Nora was abducted or whether she wandered off on her own. It seems the British tabloids overwhelmingly repeated the Quoirin version of events [citing an abduction] while also opportunistically conflating the bogus McCann narrative with this one, and sticky taping that onto this case, arguably with disastrous and fatal results.
In sum, this question of shoddy research and paraphrasing the work of others ought to be directed equally to media commentators associated with this case, such as Jim Gamble, Clarence Mitchell and the McCanns themselves.
3. It seems incomprehensible that a book could be published so quickly on this very sensitive story especially since the young girl’s funeral (as far as we know) has still not taken place. [No question mark to this statement]
This is a repeat of the first question.
In terms of sensitivity, it’s true, this is a very sensitive story and given Nora’s unique vulnerabilities, a very tragic story too. It would seem the length of her disappearance was a) unnecessarily long, b) the failure of hundreds searching for her but not finding her is inexplicable and c) the nature of her death – essentially of starvation – doesn’t reflect well on anyone.
But while there is so little transparency in terms of the investigation, or the results, and since the family have elected not to engage with the media except to appeal for fundraising, it falls to someone else to find out what happened to the poor teenager.
The family have been quite adamant that they don’t wish to speak to the media, something that remains the case at the present time, but it was something that was also very clear in Malaysia, and even clearer once Nora was found deceased in the jungle.
Nora Quoirin to be buried in Belfast on September 10th – L’yonne Republicaine
In terms of the cynical remark that a book was brought out prior to the funeral, news only emerged at midday today that the funeral is to be held early next week in Ireland. The book was published two days ago, on September 3rd, although listed on Amazon as September 2nd. At that time the nature of funeral arrangements were being withheld from the public, but it’s reasonable to assume 2-3 weeks after her death that it had taken place already.
In terms of sensitivity, the editor of the book assured the research was “well-balanced”.
4. Did you contact the family before you self published?
No. The family made it clear repeatedly that they didn’t wish to be asked and wouldn’t respond to any questions from the media. Even when police wished to interview Nora’s siblings, their lawyer [hired on day two] prevented this.
It appears the family have retained a second lawyer in France as well, who occasionally makes statements on their behalf, such as most recently regarding the date and location of the funeral. Furthermore, all questions and answers throughout this incident were being funneled through a media spokesman.
It should be noted, as soon as the family and extended family addressed the media, and involved the media, they made themselves public figures.
5. Was this merely an attempt by yourself to cash in on the public interest in this mystery?
The ambit of True Crime Rocket Science is to interrogate high-profile cases, especially those that are not dealt with appropriately in the international media. This case is a classic example of how the media narrative can contaminate an investigation.
It’s also the ambit of TCRS to analyse these cases as quickly as possible. The reason for this is that often information that comes to light in the beginning is later redacted, or removed. In this case Nora’s mother made her Facebook page private. It was nevertheless possible to see Nora’s mother had trouble sleeping in the days prior to the disappearance. This fact isn’t raised as a judgement, but in an effort to try to understand which dynamics played a role in this incident.
In terms of cashing in, the media exposure surrounding this case allowed the Quoirin family to raise over £100 000, including fundraising that continued for weeks after Nora was found. It would be good if we can see how these publicly raised moneys were spent. The reward money intended to pay for anyone who came forward with information that would lead to the family finding Nora was also never paid.
In terms of writing books = “cashing in”, it’s strange that journalists like yourself, photographers, and the media involved in covering this case aren’t asked the same question. When a crime is committed, should journalists maintain a respectful distance, or turn away out of deference to the victim? Should we maintain our silence for a prescribed period before reporting on a case so that families can grieve? What about social media? Should social media be placed on lock-down too, according to you? And yet in this instance, the media were actively invited to participate by the family of the missing girl.
True crime is all about focus, and paying attention to detail. It’s by paying attention, especially in a case where foul play is suspected all along, that we stand a chance of preventing the same thing happening again. That is justice of a sort.
I notice in your questions, you don’t ask a single question about insights that have come about as a result of the research, or how some of the unknown aspects of this case were addressed. All of it is preconceived bias and contempt.
Is the media trying to cash in on public interest? If so, at least do the victims the honor of finding out the truth in these cases, and then reporting accurately. Or is the truth and truth-telling too much to ask?
According to Charles Morel, the Quoirin family lawyer in France, Nora will be buried on Tuesday, September 10th in Belfast, Ireland. -Nora is the granddaughter of the mayor of Venizy, Sylvain Quoirin. When asked about the investigation into Nora’s death, L’yonne Republicaine quoted Morel saying: “We are waiting.” This is presumably a reference to the still outstanding toxicology results.