Nora Anne Quoirin’s autopsy results revealed no visible signs of foul play, such as physical or sexual assault, with the estimated time of death at least three days before the teenager’s body was found, following her disappearance from The Dusun resort in Negri Sembilan last year.
Dr Hanif Mahmud, a forensic pathologist at Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar in Seremban, cited the aforementioned summary findings in the autopsy report filed by him and fellow forensic pathologist Dr Siew Shue Feng following the conclusion of their post-mortem examination performed at the hospital’s mortuary on August 14, 2019.
“Multiple injuries were found on external examination. These injuries were not fatal in nature but caused by friction with objects like tree branches, rock and sand etc.
“The hymen of the deceased was intact despite decomposition changes. No obvious injuries seen on the external genitalia despite decomposition.
“No obvious marks or struggle marks seen on all limbs; however, there were small bruises on the upper back of the right shoulder and right elbow. This could have been from a fall,” Dr Hanif, the inquest’s 44th witness, said during the hearing presided over by Coroner Maimoonah Aid.
Despite the absence of injuries to Quoirin’s genitalia, Dr Hanif, however, asserted that he was unable to rule out the possibility of subtle sexual assault.
“If I may, I conclude that there was no penetration of her hymen, but I cannot deny absolutely if someone had touched the crotch area,” he said.
He also agreed when it was suggested that determining the circumstances that led to Quoirin’s death was far more complicated, adding that he and Dr Siew took into consideration every possibility to rule out any foul play but failed to obtain a definite lead.
He also asserted that there were no signs of struggle or defensive marks present on Quoirin’s wrists or forearms, and her naturally compliant behaviour may also have contributed to the lack of markings.
As for the multiple abrasion wounds seen all over Quoirin’s body and limbs, Dr Hanif hypothesised that they were consistent with her disappearance in the dense jungle.
“Through my site visit, I found that the injuries sustained by the deceased were consistent with the circumstances of the surrounding area where she was found,” he said, adding that he could not find any extraordinary injuries except the ones mentioned earlier.
When asked if it is possible for biological evidence such as seminal fluid to have been washed away since Quoirin was found submerged in a stream, Dr Hanif said it was possible.
Teen could have been dead for at least three, four days before she was found
Testifying as the inquest’s 45th witness, Dr Siew Shue Feng of Hospital Kuala Lumpur Forensic Medicine Department said that forensic entomology analysis of insect larvae (maggots) recovered from Quoirin’s body put the time of death as three to four days prior to her discovery.
He said Quoirin’s body was already in a moderate stage of decomposition when it was brought in for the autopsy.
Dr Siew also said there were noticeable ant bites all over her limbs and pelvic area, with the skin on both her hands and feet wrinkled after being submerged in water for a prolonged period of time.
Asked if the state of decomposition affected the autopsy’s outcome, Dr Siew said decomposition will definitely cause changes to the body but findings and interpretations remained intact as in Quoirin’s case.
He also echoed Dr Hanif’s testimony and the post-mortem report filed, stating that fluid samples obtained from the genitalia returned negative results for seminal fluid.
“However, I may not be able to say the same for subtle ones like (sexual) touching or contact. So, what we see is only from our internal examination of what we found, and we don’t have evidence to say otherwise,” he said.
He also did not discount the theory that Quoirin may have been left at the location where she was found but insisted that he had not found any physical evidence to support such a theory as he was limited to his own autopsy findings.
Both pathologists affirmed Quoirin’s cause of death as upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to duodenal ulcer complications with perforation.
Nora Anne, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared from the resort last year where she was staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of searchers.
Her body was discovered close to the jungle retreat and an autopsy found that she likely died of internal bleeding linked to starvation after spending about a week in the dense rainforest. – MMO