Episode #14: Joanna Cipriano — the other Madeline McCann

Summary of the Case:

On September 12th, 2004, 8-year-old Joanna Cipriano left her small home in her village in Portugal to get food for her family for dinner. Her family would say she never returned home. Her mother Lenor notified police of her daughter’s disappearance. Police interrogated Lenor, her brother Joao, and Joanna’s step-father for hours without an attorney. Eventually, police developed theories that Lenor was responsible for the disappearance and death of her daughter.

In one theory, police claimed that Lenor and Joao were having an incestual relationship, Joanna walked in on it, and Lenor and Joao had to kill Joanna to cover it up. Police contend that Joanna’s body was kept in the family fridge before being disposed of, however there was no positive DNA hits that her body had been in the fridge. There is also differing reports over whether blood was found in the home or not, although no DNA from Joanna’s blood was found in the home. Eventually Lenor admitted to this police theory, but immediately retracted her admission, and claimed police had beat her into the admission.

Lenor and Joao stood trial for the murder of Joanna. Joao admitted that he and Lenor killed Joanna, while Lenor maintained her innocence. They were both found guilty, have served their sentences and have both since been released. Alternative theories are that Lenor sold Joanna to a family seeking to adopt, or that Joanna was kidnapped on her way home for sex trafficking. She has never been seen again.

Joanna has been dubbed “the other Madeline McCann” because they were in the same country and around the same age when they went missing within a few years of one another. Madeline McCann’s case received national media attention while Joanna’s case received mostly local media attention. Neither girl has ever been found.

Joanna and Madeline

If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Hotline is your best resource. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.

Chat the National Human Trafficking Hotline via http://www.humantraffickinghotline.org/chat

Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733.

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