The case of a 15-year-old who disappeared while her parents slept on holiday in Malaysia is now being treated as an abduction.
Nora Quoirin, who has special needs, was on holiday with her family at the Dusan resort in a nature reserve near Seremban, 39 miles south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, when she went missing.
The Lucie Blackman Trust, which is supporting the family, said police were now treating the case as both a missing person case and an abduction.
Large numbers of police are searching the area for signs of the missing teen, with specialist officers using sniffer dogs.
Nora, the daughter of a French-Irish couple who have lived in London for 20 years, went missing overnight on Saturday.
Her father raised the alarm when he discovered she was gone from her bedroom at 8am local time on Sunday.
Her window had been opened.
Speaking from Belfast, Nora’s aunt Aisling Agnew said: “Nora’s parents and relatives in Ireland and France are distraught by her disappearance.
“Nora is a child with special needs and has learning and developmental disabilities which make her especially vulnerable and we fear for her safety.
“Nora would not know how to get help and would never leave her family voluntarily.
“We now consider this a criminal matter.
“We are appealing to everyone to assist the local police in any way they can and to pass on any information that would help locate our beloved Nora without delay.”
Nora, whose mother Meabh is originally from Belfast and whose father is French, is understood to have been travelling on an Irish passport.
Family friend Catherine Cook said: “It’s out of character for Nora to go wandering off.”
She added: “I’m a mother and I burst into tears just hearing this story. I cannot imagine the hell that they are living right now. I just ask for anyone who can help them to do so as soon as possible.
“To my knowledge the French government and the Irish government are helping them and it would be great if other agencies or governments worldwide could support them.”
A spokesman for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We are aware of the case and providing consular assistance.”
The family has set up an email address where information can be passed on at email@example.com.
The LBT has also provided a hotline and email address for information. People can remain anonymous and can call +448000988485.
Additional reporting by PA
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