JOANA CIPRIANO - 2. A SUMMARY OF Paulo Cristovao's book on the investigation into the murder of 8-year-old Joana by her mother and uncle
JOANA CIPRIANO - 2. A SUMMARY OF Paulo Cristovao's book on the investigation into the murder of 8-year-old Joana by her mother and uncle
The Star of Joana - A Estrela de Joana
A summary of the Paulo Pereira Cristóvão's book done by Astro
The story is about a team of three investigators from the PJ in Lisbon, who are called in to the Joana case almost a month after the child went missing. Joana was last seen at a small cafe in the village where she lived, Figueira, on the early evening of September 12, 2004. She was sent by her mother to buy some cans of tuna and a package of milk. She was repoted missing by her mother and her partner the next day, at the GNR station in Portimão.
When the three PJ members from Lisbon are called in, Joana's mother Leonor Cipriano and her uncle João Cipriano (Leonor's brother) are in preventive custody, suspected of killing Joana and of concealing her body. The three inspectors from Lisbon - Cristóvão, Marques Bom and Leonel - are brought in to help with their interrogations, as João Cipriano has confessed to killing his niece, and then has led the Faro inspectors on several wild goose chases, claiming to show them where the body is, but the PJ always return empty-handed.
The triad arrives in Faro and immediately meets Guilhermino da Encarnação, the director of PJ in the Algarve, and Gonçalo Amaral, who is leading the investigation into the Joana case. They are visibly exhausted, and they welcome the help from Lisbon, as their personnel has hit a dead end, and have exhausted all their resources.
The interrogations begin almost immediately, and Cristóvão soon notices that João Cipriano, who seems to be a rather primitive character, is actually very smart in an uneducated way. He has developed defences over the many hours of tentative interrogations that were performed by PJ investigators before. So Cristóvão tries a different path, by apparently befriending João, and deliberately ignoring his attempts to lead him in yet another outing to supposedly show him where Joana's body has been hidden.
Leonor is also interrogated by Cristóvão. The picture of the Cipriano family starts to draw itself. The siblings - João has a twin sister - admit to having sexual intercourse with each other as if this was absolutely normal, Leonor has an array of children from different partners which include a teenage daughter who cannot even bear to hear her mother's name, they have never experienced a stable family environment, being utterly incapable of thinking about anyone else except themselves. Leonor lives with a man, Leandro, in a house in Figueira. There is one bedroom that is used by Leonor, Leandro and their 2 small children. The other room was shared by Joana and a male adult friend of Leandro, Carlos. Joana adored her mother, in spite of all the abuse she suffers at her mother's hands. Leonor often sends Joana at 3 or 4 a.m. to walk to a nearby cake factory, because Leonor likes to eat warm cakes. Joana draws cardboard hearts where she writes that she loves her mother.
Gradually, an even more sinister picture starts to emerge. The detectives soon discover that João has several different sex partners apart from his sisters. A more or less regular partner confides that she has to have sex with him even when she is suffering menstrual cramps, because she is terrified of what he would do to her if she refused. Leonor is also visibly afraid of João's temper, and she obeys him blindly. Once left alone in an interrogation room with João, the detectives overhear a conversation where João tells Leonor that they must now tell everyone that a mysterious Spanish man took Joana away.
During one of the interrogations, João, who has mood shifts, ends up confessing voluntarily to having beaten Joana, who hit a wall with her head and collapsed dead on the floor. He says he was having sex with Leonor while the girl had been out on her errand, but Joana returned and saw them. She said she would tell Leandro about what she saw. The child tried to run out of the house, but was dragged back in by João and Leonor. Leonor slapped her, and then João also slapped the girl. The child flew against a wall, bumped her head and dropped dead on the floor. He then cut up her body and stored it in plastic bags in the family's freezer. Cristóvão, the detective who is interrogating him, asks some specific questions about the process of cutting. João's answers chillingly detail the process, including correct information about the difficulty in separating certain joints. He also tells Cristóvão that all 4 adults - João, Leonor, Leandro and Carlos - ended up knowing that Joana was dead, as he and Leonor showed the bags in the freezer to Leandro and Carlos when they arrived home, later that evening. João later repeats his confession in the presence of his lawyer, and duly signs it.
The detectives return to Figueira, now with a forensics team, to check whether the information that João has given them yields some traces of evidence. Their discoveries turn out to be much more than they bargained for. They discover the orange flip-flops that Joana was supposedly wearing the evening she vanished. Then they turn the uv light to the wall where João told them the child had hit her head before collapsing dead on the floor.
Her face is clearly 'drawn' on the wall, also two small hands that left a trace that goes down the wall, showing Joana's last movement. They also discover the prints of her hands on the frame of the house's outer door, that were left there at the moment when she tried to escape. João had told Cristóvão how Joana had tried to cling to the door frame, and they had to pull her back in by her legs. Everything is photographed.
On the sofa where allegedly João was having sex with his sister, no traces of bodily fluids were found. But the forensics team detects blood residues on one of the sofa's feet. They also discover several traces of sperm on a bedcover that is on Joana's bed, as well as on the pillows and on the wall next to the bed. Everything is taken by the forensics team, to be tested in their lab.
Meanwhile, the investigators watch a video capture that was made by an amateur videographer who was filming a local festivity on the evening of September 12, the evening that Joana disappeared. Leandro, Leonor's partner, is coincidentally captured on tape. At that time, he is supposedly searching the area for Joana, as all four adults had stated earlier. But the camera films Leandro at the bar, having a beer. He is not searching for anyone. He has hid head hanging, his eyes focused on the ground, with a deeply sad demeanour about him.
Back in Faro, at the PJ's offices, detective Cristóvão confronts Leonor with what João has told them about the child's death. He omits the part of the body being dismembered. Leonor thinks her partner, Leandro, has denounced her to the police. She finally starts to cry and tells the detective that João cut the body up, and put the pieces inside bags, and into the freezer. Marques Bom takes Leonor away into another room, while Cristóvão writes down what happened. Leonor will have to repeat everything later, in the presence of a lawyer, to validate her confession. As Cristóvão is finishing his report, he hears a commotion outside. He finds Marques Bom and another detective, Antonio, on the floor of the staircase, with Leonor. Gonçalo Amaral also arrives to see what the noise is about. Marques Bom says Leonor asked to go to the toilet, so they stood outside the toilet's door and waited for her to come out. But she opened the door, raced past the detectives towards the stairwell and tried to jump off the railing. They managed to prevent her from jumping, but she then threw herself off the stairs.
Leonor is brought back to the prison. During the night, Cristóvão receives a phone call informing that Leonor has a bump on her head that is swelling up, so two other detectives take her to a local medical centre. The doctor who examines her says the bump is not serious, but there is an internal blood spill and the woman should rest lying down, to prevent the blood from descending into the eye area. They take the woman back to prison. Later on, Leonor will be counselled by someone at the prison to press charges against the detectives, saying they beat her in order to extract a confession.
The picture that is later published in several newspapers shows blood around her eyes, but absolutely no trauma to the eye area. Leonor will also later fail to identify Marques Bom and Leonel at a line-up. She will identify Cristóvão, who was the element that spent most time interrogating her, but she will state formally that Cristóvão never hit her.
A few days later, Cristóvão receives a phone call from Teresa, the forensics team leader that went with the detectives to the house in Figueira. She has results from the tests: the blood that was found on the foot of the sofa, is from one of Leonor's children. But it is not from Joana, nor from the 2 small children that live in the house, and not from her teenage daughter, either. The blood comes from a descendant of Leonor, but none of the known children matches the DNA profile. The residues that were collected from Joana's bed and from the wall next to her bed don't give conclusive results. The blood sample that was detected in the freezer is human, but it is impossible to extract DNA from the sample.
Meanwhile, the detectives talk to a convict in another prison, who shared a cell with João when he was imprisoned years earlier for aggression. The convict had spoken to João about the crime that he had committed, the homicide of a man, and he had told him that his biggest mistake had been to tell the police where they could find the body of the man he had killed. This convict had taught João that nobody could be convicted without a corpse, and he had also taught João about the art of the Triangle. To kill in one location; to dump the body at another location; and finally to move into another location. On a map, these 3 locations form a triangle. The investigators remember that João had confessed to killing in Figueira. He had then gone to the junk yard that Leonor's partner Leonel operates. And finally, he had gone to his twin sister's house. This constituted a triangle.
The detectives bring João into the PJ's offices once again. Cristóvão sits in front of him, and draws a triangle on a sheet of paper. João smiles and completes the drawing with three names, one at each vertex of the triangle: Figueira, Junk yard and Casa Alta, the location where his twin sister lives. The investigators know they must go to the junkyard. They drive there with João. He tells them he placed the bags inside a red car that was going to be pressed and destroyed, but the car is not there anymore.
Later, an informant that wanted to remain anonymous tells the investigators that he saw Leandro and Carlos, on the day after Joana disappeared, driving their truck with an old red car on top of it. They went into the direction of Spain, and the informant thought it was odd because a Spanish foundry came to the junk yard regularly every month to pick up the cars for disposal. They had no apparent need to drive an old car into the Spanish foundry, as they could wait for the regular pick-up. The detectives go into Spain and visit the foundry. The place is huge, and the detectives decide they need to go back to Faro and formally ask the Spanish authorities for help.
But when they arrive back in Faro, they are summoned to return to Lisbon immediately. They were taken off the case because Leonor has filed a complaint against them for assault.
On November 11, 2005, the Portimão court condemned Leonor Cipriano to a sentence of 20 years and 4 months in prison, and João Cipriano to 19 years and 2 months in prison, for qualified homicide and concealment of the body of Joana Cipriano. The Supreme Court later determined a sentence of 16 years each, for Leonor and her brother João.
I’m curious about one thing: in UK, when people is accused of a crime, are they sentenced without having a trial? Chief-Inspector Amaral and the three CID officers are accused of beating a woman, inside a Police station. How many cases of that are groundless accusations from hardened criminals? And who is Leonor Cipriano?
Leonor Cipriano, once descibed as 'the poor Mum' by a Portuguese newspaper, who accuses four CID police officers of beating her, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, on November 2005. She beat her own daughter until she died, with the help of his brother, João Cipriano, sentenced to 20 years in jail. They beat the 8 year old girl because she discovered them - brother and sister - having sexual relations and they were afraid she could tell it to Leonor Cipriano’s lover !!!!
Whem the girl died, they cut the body in pieces, keep some of the pieces at Leonor's home refrigerator and later made the body disappear, giving it to be eaten bu animals. After they killed the girl, Leonor Cipriano went out for a popular festivity, in a nearby village. She didn't report to Police her daughter disappearence for two days.
Leonor Cipriano named four CID offciers for beating her but, during a line-up to indentify the aggressors, were the four named CID officers were present, she didn’t recognised even one of them.
1 – Joana Cipriano vanished from a small place 10 km in the outskirts of Portimão. Last time somebody saw her, she was on her way to a local groceries shop;
2 - Her mother, Leonor Cipriano, only reported to Police her daughter has disappeared two days after;
3 – After a long and difficult investigation, headed by Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, Leonor Cipriano and her brother were accused of murdering the eight years old child;
4 – The body of Joana Cipriano was never found, but samples of her blood were found in her mother's refrigerator;
5 – Her mother justified those samples of blood admitting she had beaten Joana, for some reason, she was hurt and she bleeded from her nose;
6 – Leonor Cipriano and her brother, who had a incestuous relationship, were sentenced to 16 years in jail, for the murder of her daughter and niece;
7 – Before the trial, Leonor Cipriano accused five CID officers of beating her, trying to extract a confession. She named the five CID officers, and included Chief-Inspector Gonçalo (”Amaral Lector”, according to British tabloids);
8 – The Public Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation and ordered a police line-up, with the CID officers named and accused by Leonor Cipriano of beating her;
9 – The line-up took place with Leonor Cipriano behind a two-way mirror and she couldn’t recognize any of the aggressors;
10 – The Public Prosecutor’s Office magistrate that was in charge of the criminal investigation decided to accuse the five CID officers, but didn’t mentioned, in the accusation sent to the Court, that Leonor Cipriano couldn’t identify any of the aggressors, in the police line-up;
11 – Leonor Cipriano claimed that she never confessed the murder of her own daughter. Her brother, in a letter written from jail, accused Leonor Cipriano of selling her daughter;
12 – Police is convinced (and the jurors at the trial found enough evidence to pass a verdict of guilty) that Leonor Cipriano and her brother were found, by Joana, having sexual relations, when she came home, back from the groceries shop. As Leonor Cipriano had a lover, at the time, they were afraid she would tell him what she saw;
13 – So, they beat her, in order to frighten her and keep her mouth shut up;
14 – Perhaps accidentally, they beat her so violently that they killed her. So, they decided to get rid of he body and cut it in pieces, keeping some of them in the freezer, while they gave the other pieces to be eaten by pigs (this is what police believes is the strongest possibility, because there was no other trace of Joana Cipriano, unless the blood samples in her mother freezer…)
15 – The body of Joana Cipriano was never found.
'Joana’s uncle had contempt for human life'
Leonor and João Cipriano, who have been held on remand for over a year, stood silently and without emotion as they heard prosecutor José Pinheiro outline his case. He described João Cipriano as a man who “has contempt for human life, psychopathic tendencies and difficulty in controlling impulses”. Pinheiro also castigated Joana’s mother for her “emotional instability, insensitivity and disregard for other people’s needs”. Only when Pinheiro announced that he was pressing for a 24-year jail term for both defendants did Leonor show emotion, sobbing uncontrollably.
Pinheiro explained why his team was pressing for such a long sentence. “The defendants’ guilt is heightened by their cold and calculating behaviour after their child’s death, as well as the devious manoeuvres they adopted to conceal the crime,” he said.
The trial included key testimony from Joana’s stepfather, António Leandro, who related that Leonor had confided to him that she had had a sexual relationship with her brother. He also told the court that during this conversation, which took place a few days after Joana’s disappearance, at judicial police headquarters, Leonor had admitted that she and her brother had killed the little girl.
A key element of the prosecution’s case rests on the fact that the couple dismembered the girl’s corpse. António Leandro, confronted with photographs of tools allegedly used by the couple, said he recognised a saw he had kept at home. In the video taped confession, João Cipriano admitted that the body of the girl was dismembered and placed in a refrigerated trunk. A doctor involved in the case, Albino Santana dos Santos, conceded that body parts, matching the size of a girl of Joana’s height, could have been stuffed inside the trunk.
MORE MATERIAL ON THE MURDER OF JOANA - AND LEONOR CIPRIANO'S ALLEGATIONS AGAINST GONCALO AMARAL - WILL FOLLOW IN DUE COURSE
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