The family of a girl who vanished just seven miles from the Portuguese resort where Madeleine McCann disappeared is convinced that the cases are connected.

On the day of Madeleine's fifth birthday, Joana Cipriano's relatives have urged detectives to investigate links between the two disappearances, saying there are too many disturbing similarities for the evidence to be ignored.

Joana, 8, was sent to buy some groceries from a village store near her home in Figueira, Portugal, at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2004.

She bought a can of tuna and some milk from the Ofelia store, and was last seen by a neighbor walking back near the village church, some 200 yards from her home.

Joana never returned and, like the McCanns, her mother Leonor mounted a campaign to find her. Like them, she and her brother Joao became suspects.

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