Thin-Slicing the Nora Quoirin Case: Whose fingerprints were found on the inside of the window?

Sometimes in true crime the crucial detail is also the most obvious. So when we look at the fingerprints in the Quoirin case, the key is were the fingerprints found on the inside of the window or the outside.

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An abductor coming from the outside would need to open the window from the outside, and so one would expect to see prints on the outside. Fingerprints on the inside are meaningless if the abductor came in from the outside, expressly through the window as the entry/exit.

There’s another, more obvious reason for a logic failure, which we’ll get to in a moment. Before we do, let’s spend a little time getting to know how these counterfeit narratives get their start in true crime.

True Crime Rocket Science is all about thin-slicing. With sufficient experience, one can sometimes – often – see at a glance what’s wrong, or why something may not be suspicious at all.

At the same time, a decent researcher can see why someone might be putting out a particular narrative. If it’s a deliberate misdirection [and it might not be], what’s the misdirection away from? In other words, if we take the misdirection away [which is might be as well], what are we left with.

In the Quoirin case, if we remove the open window from the equation, what are we left with? More specifically, who are we left with?

Scroll through the grey highlighted text below to skip directly to the Quoirin case.

For reference, the same claims about broken windows, sinister fingerprints and rampant paedophile abductors were made in the Madeleine McCann case. Instead of thin-slicing those, let’s pretend each of these is a thick slice and examine each thick slice one-by-one.


n terms of the fingerprints, according to the official police files:

The fingerprint traces collected are identified as being the middle finger of the left hand (3x) and forefinger of the left hand (2x), of the missing girl’s mother. 
The fingerprint inspection was only carried out on the inside of the window… 


One might argue that the police botched the investigation by not checking the outside of the window for prints. This might seem like a sensible argument, except the outside of the window was shielded by a shutter, and the shutter was dusted for prints. Only an imbecile would persist with these lines of inquiry, 12 years after the fact, suggesting that in so high-profile a case where everyone was desperate to find the abductor, if there was a print or a hair or a shoescuff, everyone would have known about it. The point is, there wasn’t.

In terms of the broken windows/shutters, these claims were quickly recycled through the media in an evolving narrative that can be read here.  5 months after these false and misleading claims were made, they were reversed. Whereas it was stated as fact that the windows/shutters were broken/jemmied/damaged, all of this was walked back to say, actually, there was no sign of damage whatsoever to the windows or shutters.

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The resort manager, John Hill, had maintained all along that there was no evidence of break-in either on the outside of the windows, or on any of the doors or locks.

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Original story here.

John Hill’s police statement here.



But it didn’t require a True Crime Rocket Scientist, a CSA checking for prints or a detective to look at the scene to figure it out. Crime scene photos showed the shutters down. Did the abductor really climb through the window, forget to step on the bed and disrupt the blankets, step out, and with his back to the parking lot, close the shutter behind him?

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Besides the closed shutter logic failure, there’s also the fact that the shutters weren’t obviously damaged. A cursory glance showed that. When someone breaks in, damahge to doors and locks is obvious. The intruder doesn’t have time to play nice, he must bust his way in quickly and as quietly as he can and get the hell out.

If the crime scene was so obviously not the scene of an abduction, how did it become one? For starters, those who wanted a particular narrative to stick were relying on the media and the public drinking the Kool-Aid that they were being given. They were relying on people not knowing the the simple intricacies of the scene, or checking for themselves. And they were hoping no one would think critically about the information.

The McCanns also had the early advantage in that they quickly had the ear of the media and the sympathy of the public. If a story got repeated enough, by enough media players and family and friends passing on the same thing, it became reality. It is the reality today, even if it’s not true. Truth and reality are two different things, one is scientific, the other a matter of preference, perspective and PR.

Besides the McCanns holding sway over the media, Portuguese laws prescriptively limited them from commenting on an active investigation. While the cops were hamstrung, it allowed the McCanns to get a head start on getting their narrative out there, and getting hearts and minds on their side.


When the police finally released their case files a year later, nobody particularly cared about thin-slicing the detail and or correcting false impressions and misleading nuances. Did it really matter that the patio sliding door was unlocked all along?  Some reports suggested the patio doors weren’t only unlocked, but open. This would need to be the case if the McCanns wished to hear their children crying from a restaurant 77.38 metres away.

Would anyone in the media care about the embarrassing kindergarten logic, that if an abductor was lurking around, why would he need to open a window when the door was open? Why not enter and exit through the available exit?

Conversely, if he entered through the door, why wouldn’t he exit the same way, given he was carrying a fairly heavy child? It make no sense to use a window, or open a loud shutter, when he could more easily slip in and out of the door, and through a much more protected area?


Thanks to the Madeleine McCann Mythos we know that an open window qualifies as evidence of a child abduction.  That alone is enough to settle the question. In fact as an arithmetic reality it can expressed as follows:

open window = abduction

It’s also thanks to the same expert hero cop that provided this incontrovertible narrative in the Madeleine McCann case that we’re informed the aluminum window in the downstairs kitchen area of the Sora House unit at The Dusun Resort was damaged. This information wasn’t provided by Malaysian police on the scene, or by the Quoirin family, or staff at the resort.

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If we remain in thick-slicing mode, the obvious question is, assuming the window really was damaged, was it damaged the night Nora disappeared, or had it always been defective? In theory, a very simple and easy question to answer. So, why isn’t this aspect asked and answered?

We could spend time dealing with the murkiness of the moving window, you know, the fact that it was first reported upstairs, then in “Nora’s room”, and then downstairs. It’s incredible in a situation such as this, with the world watching and hundreds searching night and day, no one seems to know or care about where Nora was last seen – where Nora actually slept, or where the window was where she supposedly exited.

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It should also be noted that whoever wrote the above article referring to the police declining to say if the window could be opened from the inside deserves special credit for Zombie Reporting.


In the Quorin case, the window narrative as a whole is barking up the wrong tree. It’s the same tomfoolery and mindfuckery as in the McCann case, it’s just 1000 times more absurd. But yes, it does rely on incurious minds accepting what they are told and not going to check out the layout of the bungalow themselves.

Nora was abducted through the window, and there were prints on it, and that’s all there is to it. Cue the McCann experts with their expert crime busting formula:

open window = abduction

The key question is whether the window is the only way in or out?


Why was she abducted from the window when the whole bungalow is open to the elements? Sora House is basically a transparent shoebox with the entire front elevation missing. The front balcony section has no windows and no ceiling.

Why would you need to open anything, or break anything when the bungalow itself was designed to be open as its unique selling concept. It’s designed to let the outside in, designed to be wide open to the elements.

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