A water treatment plant operator told the Coroner’s Court today he had caught a glimpse of a Caucasian girl bathing in a river the day Irish-French teenager Nora Anne Quoirin had been reported missing here last year but could not identify her.
Gunung Berembun water treatment plant operator Muhammad Firdaus Kamarudin, the 29th witness at the inquest into Quoirin’s death, said this took place on August 4, 2019 while he had been on his way to work for the evening shift.
“As I was heading towards my workplace on my motorcycle around 7pm that day, I saw a lone Caucasian girl bathing by the river to the right side of the road from an elevated position,” he told Coroner Maimoonah Aid.
Muhammad Firdaus described the Caucasian girl as having blond hair, naked, medium built, and said she had her back towards him then.
However, he said he did not dwell much on it as it was a common occurrence in the area and continued on with his journey.
It was only on August 6, 2019 that personnel from the Malaysian Civil Defence Force arrived at his workplace to inform him of a disappearance involving a Caucasian girl.
When asked whether it was habitual for him to observe the river as he travelled to work, Muhammad Firdaus replied in the affirmative.
“As a plant operator, it is normal for me to observe the river’s condition and I have been doing this since I started working 10 years ago,” he said.
He also said it was not an isolated incident and there were people regularly bathing in the river since there were several resorts nearby.
Lost individuals usually found near body of water
Testifying as the 26th witness, Seremban Fire and Rescue Department station chief Mohammad Idris said lost victims usually seek out water source.
This, he said, was why he had ordered initial first responders on August 4, 2019 to search areas with existing river streams for any signs or sightings of the teen after she had been reported missing.
Meanwhile, Special Tactical Operation and Rescue Team of Malaysia (STORM) personnel Faizal Ahmad also testified that he was instructed by his superiors to focus their search in areas with flowing streams.
“Throughout my experience, victims are usually located not far from bodies of water and many of those we rescued are found in such places,” he said.
However, Faizal said their search along water streams yielded negative results.
Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared from The Dusun resort last year where she was staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, search dogs and hundreds of searchers.
Her body was discovered close to the jungle retreat and an autopsy found that she probably died of internal bleeding after spending about a week in the dense rainforest. – MMO