A 21yo Polish woman is claiming to be Madeleine McCann. She isn't the first person to do so.

Content warning: This post mentions abuse and may be distressing for some readers. 

It's been 15 years since the world learnt Madeleine McCann's name.

The three-year-old vanished from her bed while on holiday with her family in Portugal on May 3, 2007.

At the time, the British toddler was sleeping in her family's holiday apartment in Portugal with her twin siblings, while her parents dined at a tapas restaurant with friends in the same apartment complex.

Now, after years of theories and a formal suspect, a Polish woman has come forward claiming to be Madeleine, who would be 19 years old today. 

"I think I can be Madeleine," 21-year-old Julia Faustyna, who also goes by the name Julia Wandelt, wrote in a Facebook post last week. 

"I have a defect in my eye, in the same eye, the kind of defect Madeleine had. Except that in my case it’s faded more and more every year."

In the post, Julia claimed she is a "victim of a German pedophile", who she does not know the identity of, and suffers from post-traumatic amnesia.

"I don't remember my childhood practically at all, but I do have a few memories," she wrote. 

"The earliest of these are vacations... but I completely don't recall my mother being there, for example, or my stepfather, much less my dad."

She also said her family rarely discussed her childhood abuse.


"During the therapy I started to analyse a lot, reflect and ask a lot of uncomfortable questions to my family, until at one point my mother couldn’t stand the barrage of questions and cut me off from therapy beginning in 2021."

Julia has also launched an Instagram page, iammadeleinemccan, where she has pointed out the physical similarities between herself and Madeleine, including a dimple on their cheeks.


As well as the similarities in appearance, Julia said she recognises a facial composite image of a man from the Find Madeleine website.

"I recognise this person.. it looks very similar to my abbuser [sic]," she wrote on Instagram. 


According to 7News, Julia claimed Madeleine's parents have agreed to do a DNA test in a post on Instagram.

So far, London's Metropolitan Police nor the Find Madeleine campaign have issued a statement on Julia's claims.

The other women who have posted about being Madeleine McCann.

Julia isn't the first person who has gone viral for comparing herself to the missing British toddler.

Back in 2020, a trend emerged on TikTok where women shared their similarities with Madeleine's life and appearance. 

In one video, a TikTok user named Emily shared a side-by-side comparison of herself and Madeleine, who is the same age as her. 

She also explained her family has an apartment in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine was last seen, and has been visiting it for as long as she can remember.

"When I was younger my parents were stopped in an airport and were questioned about me and had to prove I wasn't Madeleine," she wrote in the video, which features the hashtags #madeleinemccann #helpme

@emilyy1.01 🤷🏻‍♀️ #fyp #madeleinemccann #helpme #foryoupage #foryou ♬ aesthetic vibes - 𝗵𝗮𝘆𝗹𝗲𝘆

A TikTok user named Emma also shared a video, asking her followers if she looked like the three-year-old when she was a kid. 

@emmalani1 Reply to @brewster30 YES or NO? #conspiracy #madeleinemccann #doppelganger #TravelMemories #yearbook #thoughts #opinion #fyp ♬ HAHA - lil darkie

Years earlier, a UK student named Harriet went viral in 2017 when she shared her similarities to Madeline in a group chat, which was later posted on Twitter by her best friend.

Image: Twitter/The King's Tab.


Speaking to British publication, The King's Tab, at the time, Harriet said she initially thought "it was funny" she and Madeleine looked alike, but her friends were "genuinely convinced". 

"The facial features look very similar and the hair, and I Googled distinguishing features and the main two I have... Brown spot on her eye and brown spot on her leg," she told the publication. 

Have Madeleine McCann's parents responded? 

So far, Madeleine's parents are yet to comment on the claims. 

The pair released a statement last year after a man was formally identified as a suspect. 

The man was not charged with any crime related to Madeleine's disappearance.

"We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an 'arguido' in relation to the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine," they wrote, as per the ABC.

"This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities."

"Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her."

The pair also released a statement on the 15-year anniversary of their daughter's disappearance in May last year. 


"This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time," they wrote in a statement on the Find Madeleine website. 

"Many people talk about the need for ‘closure’. It’s always felt a strange term. Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain."

The McCanns went on to thank police, as well as their supporters for their "continued good wishes". 

"We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring us those answers."

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If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

You can also contact Bravehearts, an organisation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, on 1800 272 831.

Feature Image: Instagram@iammadeleinemccan/TikTok@emilyy1.01 

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