Nóra Quoirin died from “intestinal damage” likely from prolonged hunger and stress, Malaysian police have confirmed at a press conference today.
Negeri Sembilan state police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop said that the post-mortem examination had found no evidence that the teenager had been abducted or of any foul play.
He said: “For the time being, there is no element of abduction or kidnapping.”
He said she had died between two and four days previously, from intestinal bleeding, most likely due to starvation and stress.
He added: “The cause of death was upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to duodenal ulcer, complicated with perforation … it could be due to a lack of food for a long period of time and due to prolonged stress.”
He added that there were some bruises on her legs but that these would not have caused her death.
Further analysis is due to be carried out on samples taken from her body, he said, adding that Nora’s family are now free to take her back home.
The 15-year-old, who disappeared from a jungle resort, had been dead for two or three days by the time she was found on Tuesday, investigators said after a post-mortem examination.
The family of Nóra Quoirin faced an agonising wait yesterday and overnight to find out what happened to the Irish teenager who was missing for 10 days before her body was discovered.
Malaysian officials had expected to establish an exact cause of death for the 15-year-old by yesterday afternoon, but a conclusive result was not determined and investigations continued.
Matthew Searle, CEO of the Lucie Blackman Trust yesterday appealed to people not to speculate on what happened to the teenager who went missing on August 4 from the Dusun jungle resort in Malaysia.
“There will be a time for comment but that time is not now. Let the family grieve in peace,” he added.
A pathologist from Kuala Lumpur general hospital, a local hospital doctor and two experts from the department of chemistry carried out the post-mortem examination.
The result comes as a volunteer who helped the search said that Nóra’s remains were found in an area that was previously searched by rescue teams, adding further mystery to the case.
Sean Yeap, a hiker, told a reporter: “I think maybe she was elsewhere and walked to the stream perhaps to drink some water.
“The place where she was found is not easy to find. I wonder if she had been following the stream as there were no footprints which means she could have been walking in the water as it was not very deep.”
The family initially feared a criminal angle in the disappearance, saying she had special needs and had never before left her family voluntarily.
An initial investigation yielded no evidence of criminal behaviour but police would look at all possibilities, Malaysia’s deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor said on Tuesday.
Following the discovery of Nóra’s body, her family said their “hearts are broken”.
In an emotional statement, they also offered their thanks to those involved in the search for the 15-year-old.
“Nóra is at the heart of our family. She is the truest, most precious girl and we love her infinitely.
“The cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable. Our hearts are broken.
“We will always love our Nóra.”
The statement added: “We would like to thank all the people that have been searching for Nóra and trying their best to find her.
“We thank the local people here and those far and wide for their prayers and support at this time.
“Nóra has brought people together, especially from France, Ireland, Britain and Malaysia, united in their love and support for her and her family.
“To all our friends and family at home, we can’t thank you enough for all your love.”
Her body was found on Tuesday beside a small stream, about 2.5km from the jungle resort of Dusun, where the family were staying.
Nóra, who was born with the brain defect holoprosencephaly, disappeared on Sunday, August 4, while on holiday with her family.
Hundreds of people were involved in the search and rescue operation and it was volunteer helpers who found her body.
Deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor told reporters at a press conference that the remains were winched by helicopter to a hospital mortuary.
He added that the body “was not in any clothing” and that, while it remained a missing persons case, police were looking into all possibilities including the “angle of criminal investigation”.
The teenager’s parents, Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, a French-Irish couple who have lived in London for 20 years, had thanked those looking for her as fundraising pages set up by Nóra’s aunt and uncle collected more than £100,000 (€108,000) from well-wishers.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins were among those to pay their respects to Nóra after her remains were found