The French authorities have opened a criminal probe into the death of Irish-French schoolgirl Nora Quoirin, whose body was found near a jungle stream in Malaysia.
The remains of the teenager were found on Tuesday, 10 days after she went missing from a rainforest resort in Seremban, about 44 miles south of Kuala Lumpur.
An autopsy begun on Wednesday morning has yet to conclude, Malaysian police said, adding that forensic pathologists were still working to determine the cause of Quoirin’s death.
The Paris prosecutor had opened a criminal investigation into Quoirin’s case for kidnapping on August 9, a spokeswoman told Reuters news agency.
French prosecutors regularly launch investigations on cases involving French citizens abroad. Nora’s mother is from Belfast while her father is French. The family lived in Balham, London.
Malaysia’s Negeri Sembilan state police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop declined to comment on the French investigation.
Quoirin’s family lawyer Sankara N. Nair had earlier called on Malaysian police to accept an offer by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to help investigate the circumstances of the girl’s death.
“It’s a very good proposal. I hope police will accept the assistance,” Nair said.
Quoirin’s naked body was found in a deep ravine, about 1.6 miles from The Dusun resort, where she had disappeared a day after her family arrived for a holiday there on August 3.
Her family feared a criminal connection to her disappearance, saying she had special needs and had never before left the family voluntarily, a British victims’ group, the Lucie Blackman Trust, said in a statement issued on their behalf.
An initial investigation had yielded no evidence of criminal behaviour but police would look at all possibilities, Malaysia’s deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor said on Tuesday.
In the early days of the investigation, local police had suggested Nora may have climbed through a window in the family’s apartment and wandered off into the jungle.