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22nd Feb 2023

Investigator hired by McCann family addresses Polish girl’s claims

The girl says the McCanns have approached her to take a DNA test

An investigator hired by the McCann family has spoken out after a Polish girl claimed that she is Madeleine.

Julia Wandelt, 21, went viral after posting on Instagram that she is the missing girl, who was just four years old when she disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007.

Julia claims to have a freckle on her leg and a speck in her eye in the same places as Madeleine. She also thinks she looks similar to Maddie’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

She now claims that the missing girl’s family have asked her to take a DNA test.

A source close to the McCanns told The Mirror: “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.

“If what she says is true, there is every chance it could be her. It all adds up.”

However, Francisco Marco – a private detective who led the hunt for Maddie in the months after her disappearance – has broken his silence over the unsubstantiated claims.

He told Spanish newspaper El Independiente: “Without knowing the details in depth, it doesn’t add up to me. I don’t think it’s her.”

Wendell has been taking to social media with photos of herself as a youngster, comparing them to Maddie as “evidence” that they are the same person.

She also wrote on her Instagram story: “I talked with someone from Madeleine’s family and I will have a possibility to talk with Madeleine’s parents tomorrow and DNA test will be done soon.”

In a post published on Friday, the woman claimed to have spoken to someone who was alleged to be Madeleine’s cousin, and who told her she could “have a possibility” to talk to Kate and Gerry McCann to arrange a DNA test.

These claims have not yet been addressed by Madeleine’s family.

Her Instagram bio, on a profile that has now gained more than 200,000 followers, says: “I think I can be Madeleine. I need DNA test.

“Police investigators from UK and Poland try to ignore me. I will tell my story in posts here. Help me.”

Answering questions she was asked by some followers, the unnamed woman said she does not remember being taken away and has no recollection of most details of her childhood.

She said: “I don’t remember being taken away. I mean, I don’t remember almost my entire childhood.”