Evidence Supporting A Woman's Claim That She Is Madeleine McCann — & Questionable Details About Her Theory

Police are very skeptical.

side by side pics of Madeleine McCann and Julia Wendell TikTok

Many of us will never forget the case of missing British child, Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from a hotel room in Praia de Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007, while vacationing with her family.

The three-year-old had traveled from the United Kingdom with her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, and her twin siblings who were two years old at the time. A group of family friends and their children also accompanied the McCanns.


The children were left in a ground-floor apartment around 8:30 pm while the parents dined at a restaurant nearby, and checked on them occasionally. Kate looked in on the children around 11:00 pm to find her daughter missing.

A costly search started since then there have been accusations against the toddler’s parents, resulting in lawsuits, admissions of mishandling evidence by police, and over 9,000 reported sightings of Madeleine.

In the 16 years since Madeleine went missing, German police have speculated that she died at the hands of Christian Bruckner, a convicted pedophile. But a Polish woman claiming to be Madeleine has recently emerged, reigniting hope that the little girl is alive. 


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Who is Julia Wendell?

Julia Wendell has gained a lot of attention recently due to her Instagram account called @iammadeleinemccan, where she shares pictures of herself, comparing her features to those of the missing girl.

Julia Wendell is a Polish woman who believes she could be Madeleine McCann.

According to Wendell, suspicions that she may be the McCann’s long-lost daughter began just a few months ago, when her grandmother mentioned the case of the missing girl.


Wendell's age is the most glaring disparity between her and Madeleine — she is 21 while Madeleine would be just 19 by now. However, she believes her parents may have lied to her about her age.

Her claims have gained over 200,000 followers on her account.

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She claims her family has acted strangely when she questions them about her childhood and alleges that she has never seen any pictures of her mother pregnant with her.


To back the theory surrounding her identity, Wendell presents several details of her life and traits that she believes proves that there is a chance she is Madeleine.

Wendell appears to have the same unique eye feature that Madeleine McCann had.

One identifying feature that was shown in the media repeatedly was a defect in Madeleine’s eye called a coloboma, a gap in the eye structure near the bottom of the eye.

This happens when a part of the eye, in this case the pupil, didn’t develop fully, leaving a keyhole appearance. Wendell’s right eye has the same feature, though she says hers has faded over time.

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To her credit, colobomas occur in about 1 in 10,000 people, making it uncommon. However, with almost 8 million people in the world, about 800,000 are afflicted by the condition, so it is not impossible to come across two people with it.

Some of Wendell's moles and freckles match Madeleine’s.

Wendell has also matched several birthmarks on her legs and face to prove the assertion that she just might be Madeleine. There is one underneath her left eye, that is positioned similarly to the one on the missing girl’s face.


The Instagrammer also points out ‘brown spots’ on her leg that could match the three-year-old’s but are more prevalent. Wendell explains the difference by saying, “It’s normal that little child could have less Brown dots than [an] adult person.”

One person agreed that she could have developed more bodily markings over time, commenting, “I have loads more freckles and beauty spots now than I did as a kid so completely possible hun!”

Wendell is right about freckles developing later in life. It usually occurs between the ages of two and four. But with Madeleine disappearing at the age of three, she may have had most of hers already.

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Wendell points out several other features of Madeleine McCann that she thinks bear a resemblance to her.

On her Instagram account, Wendell shares several pictures of herself as a child where she has a similar hairstyle to the tot, green eyes, a nose like the girl’s, and an oval-shaped face.

Despite the similarities, people were skeptical. One person said, “If they thought there was any chance this was Madeline, they would have been in touch with her for a DNA by now obviously.”


While both children have similar features, there are some marked differences. Wendell appears to have always had fuller lips than the missing girl. And while they both have green eyes, hers appear to droop downward in the corners versus Madeleine, whose eyes were almond-shaped.

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Wendell claims she was abused by Martin Ney, a man once suspected of being involved in Madeleine's disappearance.

The young lady also believes there is a strong possibility that she is Madeleine because she claims she was sexually abused as a child and the person accused of violating her bears a striking resemblance to the suspect sketch in the missing child case.


Wendell alleges that she was sexually abused as a child and claims her abuser's surname is "Peter Ney" and his son is Martin Ney.

German child killer, Martin Ney, was once suspected of being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance and is serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of three young boys and the abuse of several other kids.

In addition, the woman says she doesn’t remember most of her childhood or the people she knows as her family, but can recall a holiday is a “hot place where there was [a] beach and white or very light colored buildings with apartments.”

Kate and Gerry McCann have allegedly agreed to a DNA test.

There has been no shortage of doubters in the comments on Wendell’s page either. But she has renewed hope that her ‘true identity’ will be uncovered. The woman claimed in an Instagram story that she has had contact with McCann family members, and they have agreed to a DNA test.


The McCanns have not addressed the situation publicly. Most people seem to doubt this is their daughter but hope for their sake that the situation finally brings a sense of closure to the family.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.