The family of the British teenager Nora Quoirin, whose body was found in the Malaysian jungle, have paid tribute to their daughter and said “the cruelty of her being taken away is unbearable”.
The 15-year-old’s body was discovered on Tuesday by a local team of hikers beside a small stream close to the Dusun jungle resort after a 10-day search.
Nora, who was born with holoprosencephaly, a neurological disorder, was on a two-week holiday in an eco-resort with her parents and two younger siblings about an hour south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
A statement from her family, who live in London, said: “We would like to thank all the people that have been searching for Nora 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.
“Nora has brought people together, especially from France, Ireland, Britain and Malaysia, united in their love and support for her and her family. She has truly touched the whole world.”
The statement added: “To all our friends and family at home, we can’t thank you enough for all your love.
“Nora 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 Nora.”
Nora’s parents had earlier thanked those involved in the search operation as fundraising pages set up by the teenager’s aunt and uncle raised more than £100,000.
The family discovered Nora’s disappearance from their hotel on the morning of 4 August and reported her missing.
A large window in the room was found open and while her family insisted she had been abducted, the police continued to treat the incident as a missing person case.
The Quoirins had said Nora’s condition meant she was not independent and had difficulty walking.
Her body was found in the Betembum mountains by members of the Seremban hikers club, who had joined police, residents and members of the indigenous Orang Asli people in the search and rescue operation.
Malaysia’s deputy inspector general of police, Datuk Mazlan Mansor, said there was “reasonable suspicion” that the body of the “Caucasian female” found 1.2 miles from the Dusun resort was that of Nora, who is of Irish and French descent.
The Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said the situation was “every family’s worst nightmare”.
He wrote on Twitter: “Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Nora Quoirin’s parents, siblings and wider family at this unimaginably difficult time.
“They have experienced every family’s worst nightmare. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who searched for Nora. May she rest in peace.”