As Julia Wendell captures global attention, spare a thought for Madeleine McCann's parents

As Julia Wendell captures global attention, spare a thought for Madeleine McCann's parents
Julia Wandelt claimed that Madeleine McCann's parents, Gerry and Kate, had agreed to a DNA test to prove she was the missing child (Getty Images; persianmedium/Instagram)

WARSAW, POLAND: The creation of an Instagram account by Julia Wandelt, a 21-year-old Polish woman, claiming she was Madeleine McCann, a three-year-old child who went missing from Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, left thousands perplexed. Her claims sparked a huge social media debate with some people supporting her claims while others accused her of lying to get attention.


Wandelt, who also uses the surnames Wendell and Faustyna, launched her Instagram page, 'iammadeleinemccann', and went live to make the shocking claims. In a video that went viral, she claimed she was 21 but was not sure of her real identity or age. She said that she had marks on her body just like McCann had. Now, however, she deleted her Instagram account after the immense backlash she received. 


Julia Wandelt: Woman who claims she’s Madeleine McCann is now 'happy’ and at ‘peace’

Julia Wandelt: Polish woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann deletes her Instagram account

What did Julia Wandelt claim?

The morning after she went viral, Wandelt reportedly alleged she had contacted the police multiple times. She reportedly said, "I called my local police, Capital city police, the MET police, Portugal police and Crimestoppers. A few months ago I talked with Operation Grange, too." Wandelt's claimed she told her family about her beliefs, but they clammed up and refused to talk about it. "[My] mother didn't want to talk about it. She said the past is in the past and she is not going to talk about the past. She said now is the future and we should focus on the future. My dad said, 'even if I am not your father will it change anything?'" she said, per Newstalk.


Wandelt kept trying to convince people about what she claimed to be "proof" that she was McCann, such as a video of the toddler's mother, Kate, that changes to a picture of her own face. It, according to her, showed how similar the two were. She added that a German pedophile had preyed on her, as reported earlier by MEAWW.

What did Julia Wandelt's parents say?

Wandelt's family reportedly denied that she was McCann, claiming that she had mental health problems and that she refused to heed their pleas to cease telling "lies and manipulation," per the New York Post. The family released a statement, that read, "For us as a family it is obvious that Julia is our daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and step niece. We have memories, we have pictures. Julia also has these photos, because she took them from the family home with the birth certificate, as well as numerous hospital discharges."


Wandelt's family allegedly denied removing her from therapy as she claimed they did when she began "asking questions." Her motivation, according to the family, was the attention she was getting.

What did Madeleine McCann's parents say?

Gerry and Kate allegedly agreed to take a DNA test, an update that Wandelt posted on her Instagram account, even though they have not spoken about Wandelt or whether or not they believed her claims. An insider close to the McCanns said, "The family are taking no chances, they are willing to look at all leads. It is important they look at all of the factors. The girl does look similar. There's no disputing that," adding, "If what she says is true, there is every chance it could be her. It all adds up." After hearing from Wandelt's parents, the Polish Police closed the case, as reported by JOE.


'Julia could be any missing child out there'

Wandelt's spokesperson, Fia Johansson, a private detective who claims to be a psychic, stated that the 21-year-old expressed her "openness" to the notion that she could be "any" missing child out there. Johansson said on an Instagram video, "I've spoken to her about this and she is open to the fact she could be any missing child out there – not just Madeleine. Julia just wants to know the truth about who she is. Julia has taken a DNA test and we are investigating if it's possible to check her DNA with that of missing Livia. We are investigating all possibilities at this stage," per the New York Post. Wandelt reportedly underwent a DNA test to find out if she was Livia Schepp, a Swiss girl who went missing in 2011.

What is the update on the Madeleine McCann case? 

Even though it has been more than 15 years since McCann went missing, a lot of questions remain unanswered. At the time that she went missing, Portugese cops designated the McCanns as suspects in September 2007. When forensic examinations uncovered signs of McCann's blood in a car they had rented 25 days after she went missing, their attention turned to the parents, as per reports.


Authorities interrogated the pair, but they maintained their innocence throughout the investigation. They were given a clean chit in 2008. At the time, Gerry stated that "whoever stole Madeleine is still at large," as reported by PEOPLE.

Who is Christian Brueckner? 

German pedophile Brueckner was initially mentioned in relation to the unsolved case and he was formally designated as a suspect in 2022. According to reports, his yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan was seen close to the Portugese resort from where McCann went missing. He was already imprisoned in Germany for the rape and murder of a 72-year-old woman, and was facing additional charges for numerous sexual offenses that allegedly occurred between 2000 and 2007, per The Indepedent.

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 As Julia Wandelt captures global attention, spare a thought for Madeleine McCann's parents