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.
Typically, autopsies take two to four hours, and preliminary results are usually available within 24 hours. A full report might take 6 weeks to compile. The fact that Nora Quoirin’s autopsy has taken three to four times longer than a standard autopsy, suggests a complicated crime scene in terms of the victimology.
If Nora did wander the woods for a long time, she may have suffered extensive bruising, cuts and other injuries. Her remains may also have been interfered with by wild animals – a factor that cannot be excluded in a rural, tropical setting over a period of 10 days.
What may make the autopsy difficult is if the remains had been washed several times by successive downpours, or if it fell into water and was put through intermittent cycles of rushing groundwater. This scenario would need to be separated from a cause of death by drowning, for example.
What I would like to know is whether the crime scene where the body was recovered was not covered previously by search teams, earlier in the week. Which is to say, was the area initially excluded, and the body later discovered there by a volunteer, or had the particular area never been searched? The latter is difficult to imagine since it was just 1.6 miles from the resort, with hundreds of trained searchers combing the area, day and night for ten consecutive days.
SEREMBAN: The post-mortem examination of the remains of Irish teen Nora Anne Quoirin has turned into a marathon of sorts. The examination, by a team of senior pathologists led by Dr Siew Sheue Feng from Kuala Lumpur Hospital, is still going on, nine hours after it began at 11.45am.
A press conference scheduled for 5pm to announce the initial results of the examination was postponed to 8pm, but as that hour came and went, there was still no sign of senior police officers to update the media.
When deputy state police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Che Zakaria Othman finally appeared, he said the post-mortem examination was still on-going. He said police could not release any details as yet because of this. “I made a decision based on the instruction of state police chief (Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop) that a statement will only be issued at a time to be advised tomorrow. There is also no new development at the scene (where Nora Anne’s body was found) that I have to report,” he told a horde of reporters who had been stationed outside the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital mortuary, some from as early as 6.30am.
Che Zakaria declined to answer any questions. While post-mortem examinations generally take a long time, the fact that this one has taken so long has left many questions lingering in the minds of all following the case.
At 2:45 in the clip below, the former spindoctor for the McCanns [who were once prime suspects in the disappearance and possible death of their daughter] Clarence Mitchell explains why it’s good practice to alert the media when a child abduction happens.
There’s also another issue to address, which was the speed at which the family got a media apparatus up and running. I won’t deal with that aspect just yet, except to point out what this achieves.
At 2:45 in the clip below, Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ ex-spin doctor explains why it’s essential to keep a missing persons case alive in the media, especially when these incidents occur in foreign countries.
Mitchell’s spiel is that by alerting international media, pressure is brought to bear on law enforcement, especially external pressure. The suggestion is that without this pressure, the police wouldn’t do their job.
But one could clearly also make the argument that in a scenario where one or both parents are involved in the death of their child, it would theoretically suit them to have some outside entity exerting enormous pressure on the authorities, while leveraging public sympathy to their own benefit. This is a subtle but powerful way to manipulate an investigation, and from the beginning, this was one – the Nora Quoirin disappearance – did experience precisely that kind of external buffeting.
In the McCann case massive external pressure and some of the most high-profile media exposure in the history of true crime was brought to bear. What this did was it pressurized the investigation all right, ultimately leading to a number of court cases, almost all to do with defamation, book deals, and the defense of book deals. No one was charged in the Madeleine McCann case, and the lead investigator soon lost his job because of something he said to the media.
Within the idiosyncracies of the McCann case, Portuguese law has certain privacy constraints as a matter of course when conducting a criminal investigation. The British media and flouted these. Soon investigators were in effect bullied into towing the line and paying homage to the narrative as set out in the media. Much of the tone of this line was orchestrated by the parents themselves, using public fundraising money to pay for PR folks like Clarence Mitchell.
Mitchell has also worked for the disgraced data mining company Cambridge Analytica. Why, when there is a missing child case like this one, is he still being called as a credible spokesman to pontificate on how these cases should be handled? If anything, investigation via PR is how it should not be handled.