DNA Test Suggests Polish Woman May Be Long-Lost Child, Madeleine McCann

By: Tyler Connaghan | Last updated: Sep 10, 2023

The story of Madeleine McCann once captured the attention of people worldwide. Madeleine was just three years old when she disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.

Despite extensive searches and investigations, Madeleine’s whereabouts remained unknown. However, a young Polish woman who claims she could be McCann is now coming forward with a DNA test. Could this solve the mystery surrounding her disappearance?

Madeleine Disappeared Suddenly on a Family Trip

​​It was supposed to be a fun family vacation for the McCanns. Gerry and Kate McCann, along with their three children, arrived in the small coastal town of Praia da Luz, Portugal, eager to soak up the sun and relax.


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But their dreams of a peaceful getaway were about to be shattered on May 3, 2007. They would soon discover their youngest child, Madeleine, was missing from her bed.

At Just Three Years Old, She Vanished

As Kate and Gerry enjoyed dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant, they felt reassured that their children were just 130 feet away, safely tucked into their beds. Throughout the night, the parents routinely checked in on them.


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But as the evening wore on, Kate began to have a bad feeling that something wasn’t right, so she decided to go back to the apartment to check again. It was then that she found an empty bed.

Her Parents Were Initially the Prime Suspects

Kate and Gerry were stunned when they were named as suspects in September 2007. They had been fighting to clear their names for months, ever since traces of Madeleine’s blood were found in a rental car just 25 days after her disappearance.


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The accusations against them were devastating, but Kate and Gerry refused to give up. They maintained their innocence and fought to prove that they had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance.

The McCann’s Underwent Relentless Rounds of Questioning

As the investigation dragged on, the McCanns underwent countless rounds of questioning. They remained steadfast in their innocence, despite the mounting pressure and scrutiny.


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Finally, in 2008, the couple was cleared as suspects. It was a moment of relief, but also one of sadness. Madeleine was still missing, and the search for her continued. “Whoever took Madeleine,” Gerry said at the time, “is still at large.”

One Suspect Was Named in 2020

In mid-2020, there was a glimmer of hope. German authorities had identified a man named Christian Brueckner as a suspect in the case. He was in his 40s and had a history of criminal activity.

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However, despite prosecutors’ belief that Brueckner was responsible for Madeleine’s death, there simply wasn’t enough evidence to push for a conviction. The investigation hit a dead end, leaving the McCanns and the world still searching for answers and closure.


This Was Not Brueckner’s First Run-In With the Law

Christian Brueckner had a long history of criminal activity, including a conviction for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in 2005. He had been serving a seven-year sentence for that crime but was in the process of appealing when he became linked to Madeleine’s case.

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At the time, Brueckner was already serving a 21-month sentence for dealing drugs in Germany. But despite the mounting evidence against him, there was still not enough to definitively link him to Madeleine’s disappearance.


Though Police Had Findings, the Evidence Was Slim

In a CNN interview, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who was leading the investigation, spoke openly about the evidence they had gathered. “We actually have findings that suggest that he is Madeleine McCann’s murderer,” he said.

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It was a shocking revelation, and many hoped that it would be enough to finally bring Brueckner to justice. But despite the strong evidence against him, there simply wasn’t enough to secure a conviction.


However, In 2022, a New Suspect Emerged

In April 2022, Portuguese prosecutors announced that they had identified an official suspect in the case. The statement was brief, but it was enough to give people hope that they were finally getting closer to the truth.

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Authorities did not reveal the name of the individual, but they did confirm that he had been identified as a suspect after German and British police made a request for further investigation. Was this someone who had managed to evade suspicion for all these years?


What Happened to the McCann’s Next Would Be a Shock

Around the same time, the internet was buzzing with speculation after Julia Faustyna, a Polish woman, made a startling claim that she believed that she might be Madeleine McCann. Julia, who also goes by the name Julia Wendell, had been sharing her story on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

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She pointed out similarities in their age and appearance and even started a social media account under the handle @iammadeleinemccann. Her posts quickly gained traction, finding their way to the McCann family.


This Was Not Simply a Cry for Attention

Julia was determined to find out the truth. In March 2023, she made a bold move by submitting samples for forensic testing to determine if she was indeed the missing girl.

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According to private investigator Dr. Fia Johansson, the 21-year-old submitted numerous samples for a number of unique forensic examinations. These will provide her with an outline of her DNA sequence. This will also include a genetic test, similar to what you would find on 23andMe, to find out more about her ancestry.


Julia Wendell’s Childhood Was Blur

Julia had been trying to piece together her past, which she claims is hazy. She even posted images of her facial features that she believes are similar to Madeleine’s, including a beauty mark on her cheek and a spot in her right eye.

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Wendell thinks that certain aspects of her upbringing do not match up, believing that she may have been abducted at a young age. She has been relentless in her search for answers and has expressed her hope that the DNA tests will reveal the truth about her past.


Her Desire for a DNA Test Became a Clash with Authorities

The police were not convinced. Recently, a spokesperson for the Wroclaw Provincial Police Headquarters reportedly told Gazeta that Julia Wendell’s versions of the events were not true.

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However, in a recent Instagram video, Wendell and her spokesperson, Dr. Johansson, who is a psychic medium and private investigator, disputed the statement made by the officers. She noted, “no Polish police officers confirmed she was or wasn’t McCann.”


There Was a Chance She Could Be Another Missing Girl

Dr. Johansson also shared that they plan to pressure Julia’s mother into taking the DNA test. However, there have recently been online rumors speculating that Julia may actually be Livia Schepp.

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Schepp was a six-year-old Swiss girl who went missing in 2011. Julia is going with the possibility of being a different missing child. As of now, they hope to conduct the DNA test to find out.


All In All, Wendell Just Wants to Find Out Who She Is

Dr. Johansson explained that Wendell is willing to consider the possibility that she could be a number of missing children beyond Madeleine. According to Johansson, she’s simply eager to discover her true identity.

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Wendell reportedly made a connection to Madeleine’s case, as one of the prime suspects they found in the investigation resembles someone who she claims abused her when she was young. Dr. Johansson stated that this resemblance prompted Wendell to consider the possibility that she could be Madeleine.


Johansson Feels the Same Suspect Could Be Connected to Other Cases

“The man who Julia claims abused her as a child is also a suspect in Madeleine’s case and could be responsible for other missing children’s cases,” Dr. Johansson said. “This is the way in which traffickers and predators operate.”

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Julia has already taken her DNA test, and the two are currently exploring the possibility of comparing her DNA to that of Livia, the missing Swiss girl. The pair are keeping an open mind and exploring every possibility.


Wendell’s Family, Of Course, Is Not Happy With the Claims

In the meantime, Wendell’s family is devastated by her claims. To believe that her family, that love and know her deeply, didn’t raise her is a terrifying thought.

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In a statement released via the Missing Years Ago, a Polish organization for missing persons, the family emphasized that they have memories and pictures that confirm Wendell’s identity as their daughter. They’re hoping these are enough to act as proof.


Unfortunately, Those Photos Are Not In Their Possession

The family now alleges that Wendell took these pictures from their home along with her birth certificate and hospital discharge records. According to them, this has been an ongoing issue.

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They claim that they have long attempted to understand what’s happening with her and have provided her with numerous therapists, psychiatrists, and medications. The family insists that Julia was never left alone without a family and that they’ve done everything for her.


Now, the Media Is At Their Doorstep

The family notes that they’ve seen these threats from Julia numerous times. She has tried to lie and manipulate her way into these situations before.

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They note that she is simply seeking attention online. If it’s the case, it’s clear that the family’s frustration with Julia’s behavior has had a significantly negative impact on their lives. Despite these challenges, the family has tried to intervene and stop Julia’s behavior by explaining the situation and asking her to quit.


Could This All Be a Hoax?

Was there an agenda behind Wendell’s actions? The family suggested that Julial may have had a desire for popularity throughout her young life, hinting at her motivations. 

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However, Dr. Johansson encouraged the family to take the same DNA test and reach out directly to them to talk about the case instead of releasing their statements publicly. This could allow for a more open and constructive dialogue, which may ultimately lead to a resolution for all parties involved.


It Seems We’re a DNA Test Away from the Truth

Though Johansson has expressed concern that the information and evidence that they have seen do not match up with the family’s claims, there haven’t been any new findings. In addition, Dr. Johansson found it suspicious that the family has not yet taken a DNA test.

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She feels that this could clear up the claims swiftly. Both she and Wendell are now hoping that the family will reconsider their stance and reach out to them to discuss the matter.