'Quiz Madeleine McCann suspect over our girl who vanished three years earlier'

The step-dad of a young girl who vanished close to where ­Madeleine McCann was snatched has urged police to quiz paedophile Christian Brueckner over the disappearance.

Joana Cipriano, eight, was reported missing in 2004 from Figueira – five miles from the Praia da Luz apartment on the Algarve where Madeleine vanished as her parents ate with friends nearby.

Her mum Leonor Cipriano and uncle Joao Cipriano were convicted of murdering the youngster, whose body has never been found, and spent nearly two decades behind bars.

But the pair insist they are innocent and Leonor claimed she was tortured by Portuguese detectives into confessing to the killing her daughter.



Joana’s step-dad Leandro Silva has now called on German and Portuguese police to investigate if there are any links between pervert Brueckner and the child’s disappearance after he became the latest suspect in Madeleine’s case.

The 54-year-old said: “The moment I saw police had a Madeleine suspect I thought about poor Joana and how he could be involved.

“The disappearance of my step-daughter is an ­unresolved case, whatever the authorities say.



'Quiz Madeleine McCann suspect over our girl who vanished three years earlier'

“Her body has never been found and I know Leonor would never have hurt Joana. She was a good mum.

“I think the police handled the investigation so badly.

“That’s why I’d like a new police team to re-examine everything and see if this German man is involved.

“Brueckner also seems to have been heavily into drugs and I think there’s a good chance he could be implicated.



'Quiz Madeleine McCann suspect over our girl who vanished three years earlier'

“He appears to have done some horrible things here and he obviously knew the Algarve well.

“Christian Brueckner is a person who should be questioned. There are still so many unanswered questions hanging over Joana’s ­disappearance and he could hold the key to solving them.

Dad-of-three Leandro, from Portimao, told how he “shares the pain” ­Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry have felt since their daughter vanished aged three in 2007.

German police claim they have evidence she is dead.



'Quiz Madeleine McCann suspect over our girl who vanished three years earlier'

Leandro added: “For me there were a lot of similarities with the two ­disappearances. I dream of knowing what happened to poor Joana just like I know the McCanns do [about ­Madeleine].

“If that means finding out they are dead so be it but I obviously wish for a different ending.

“What I do want is justice done for whoever’s taken her and I don’t feel as if I have all or any of the answers.”

Joana vanished after leaving a local cafe with milk and a tin of tuna she had just bought.

Her murder investigation was led by Goncalo Amaral, the police chief who led the botched probe into ­Madeleine’s disappearance.



'Quiz Madeleine McCann suspect over our girl who vanished three years earlier'

He was found to have falsified police ­documents in the Cipriano case and was jailed for 18 months.

Leonor launched a campaign to find her daughter before being made a suspect by Amaral, in the same way doctors Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, were.

Detectives claimed Joao killed Joana after she allegedly caught him having incestuous sex with her mum.

Leonor confessed to police over the alleged murder but today insists she is ­innocent. Joao confessed to cutting Joana’s body into pieces and feeding them to pigs.

However, he also now claims he had no involvement and said he too was “forced” to confess. Leonor ­withdrew her confession the day after signing it, alleging she was beaten during a two-day ­interrogation.

New Madeleine McCann prime suspect

Police claimed her ­injuries were caused when she threw herself down a flight of stairs in a botched suicide attempt after her arrest.

Her and Joao’s murder trial was the first in Portugal to be conducted without a body being discovered.

The pair were each jailed for 16 years.

Leonor, now living in Evora in south-central Portugal, was let out in February last year.

Joao was released from a prison near Lisbon a month later.

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