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Eldest sister didn’t know that Joana existed - 24Horas

Leonor’s first daughter is aged 18 and only met her when she saw her on television

Dina is Leonor Cipriano’s first daughter. She would be Joana’s eldest sister if Joana was still alive. She only met her mother through television, from the news about the little girl’s death

Dina is now aged 18. She lives with her boyfriend, with whom she is building something that her mother never gave her: a family life. She’s the eldest daughter of Leonor Cipriano, whom she has never really known, the fruit from her marriage to Vítor Pereira.

There is little left from the union of Leonor and Vítor now: there is a daughter, and the civil state that is still written on the identity card of the woman who was condemned over the death of little Joana. One can still read “married” on the document, not because that happened with the last of her partners, Leandro, but rather due to the fact that she never divorced Vítor Pereira, a steel worker who is now aged 44 and lives in Olhão.

When she met him, Leonor worked in the fields, and was still a minor when she had her first daughter with him. “It was a detour in my son’s route, he never married again”, says Maria do Carmo. Nevertheless, from that relationship Dina was born, a young woman who is now 18 years old and who only came to know her mother, who had given her away into her grandmother’s care when she was merely months old, when the Joana Case was investigated.

“One day my granddaughter looked at the television and asked me if that woman was her mother”, the grandmother told 24Horas. And she clarifies that her granddaughter started following Leonor’s life through the media, her preventive custody, the questionings, the condemnation over the death of a sister whose existence she didn’t know about. Through the television, she learned about the macabre outlines of the homicide that her mother had been accused of.

Hard times at school

“Dina never had a moment’s rest again… children are very cruel with each other”, Maria do Carmo says with a weary look on her face.

The reports about a past that she says she’d rather forget, further reveal “how difficult it was to hold her granddaughter back at that time, because at school she was asked if her mother had murdered Joana”. Maria do Carmo recalls that more than a few times she heard Dina say that she was called “the murderer’s daughter”.

The young girl studied until 9th grade; she is presently unemployed and lives with her boyfriend.

From Leonor, Maria do Carmo holds memories that include having been “a good mother while she lived here”. But she tells that one day, she left the house carrying the little girl who was then 11 months old, and left behind a piece of paper that read “I went to pick up the identity card at my mother’s place”.

Due to the fact that Leonor wouldn’t return, and upon request from Vitor, Maria do Carmo went to fetch her in Alcantarilha. She managed to retrieve her granddaughter but not Leonor, who simply said to her “If she goes with you, she’ll be fine”.

After that, she only saw her again once, one month later.

“It is me who my granddaughter calls mother”.

source: 24Horas, 29.10.2008

1 comment:

  1. Dina was the lucky one, she escaped abuse and neglect at the hands of Leonor and her partners, if only Joana's father or grandparents had done the same with her things would have been very different and Joana would still be alive.
    I hope that Dina will suceed in making a good life for herself but I must say it doesn't look very promising : at 18, with only the 9th grade, unemployed and alredy living with a boyfriend...hum...let's just hope she won't get pregnant, put some more poor Joanas in this world, have a sucession of failed relationships, etc., follow her mother's tracks.
    It is very difficult to break the cicle of disfunctional families.


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