Madeleine McCann: is Julia Wendell missing child? DNA test results of Polish woman are revealed

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The 21-year-old woman spoke to US talk show host Dr Phil about her claims earlier this month

A Polish woman who said she is missing British girl Madeleine McCann for the last few months has received DNA results which disprove her claim. Julia Wendell, aged 21, first claimed she was missing Maddy last summer and even went on a US talk show to speak about it, although she offered no proof. Wendell’s own parents said she was lying and now DNA test results have revealed that she is not the toddler, who disappeared from Praia da Luz in Portugal in 2007.

The DNA results, which have been released days after Wendell appeared on chat show Dr Phil, show that the young woman does have Polish descent, as her parents have always said. In an exclusive report Radar Online said that she also has Lithuanian and Russian heritage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dr Fia Johansson, a private investigator who has been helping Wendell, told RadarOnline.com: “She is absolutely 100 percent from Poland. She is a small percentage of Lithuanian and Russian but the test results show she is Polish.” So, who is Julia Wendell and what effect have her claims had? Here’s what you need to know.

What claims did Julia Wendell make?

Julia Wendell became an internet sensation in June 2022 when she first said she believed she was Madeleine McCann, who went missing while she was on a family holiday in Portugal almost 16 years ago. Madeleine was three-years-old when she disappeared which would mean she would now be 19. Wendell, however, is two years older than that which has always made people suspicious about her claims.

Speaking to Dr Phil on the American talk show of the same name earlier this month, Wendell discussed her early memories and showed him pictures of herself as a child which she believed proved her claims. She said: “I have some single memories since eight, nine-years-old. And before eight, I have only this one memory with beach and water, like sea or ocean, and there were turtles and children trying to catch the turtles and take them in their hands. And I remembered light-coloured buildings, like white or very light colours, sunlight on this building."

Polish woman Julia Wendell (right) claims to be missing British girl Madeleine McCann.Polish woman Julia Wendell (right) claims to be missing British girl Madeleine McCann.
Polish woman Julia Wendell (right) claims to be missing British girl Madeleine McCann. | PA (left) and (Dr Phil/Youtube (right)

She also stated that she did not believe her Polish parents were actually her mum and dad. She said: "I believe I am Madeleine McCann. If she is my mother, I don’t want to have contact with her, that's all, but I believe she isn’t my mother."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A statement was read from Wendell’s family during her appearance on the show. It read: “We always tried to understand all situations that happened with Julia. Numerous therapies, medicines, psychologists and psychiatrists - Julia had it all guaranteed. She wasn't left alone. Threats to our address from Julia, her lies and manipulations, activity on the internet. We've seen it all and we've tried to prevent it, to explain, we've asked her to stop.”

The family also went on to claim that they believed Wendell was making up the claim, which was obviously untrue, to gain popularity. "Julia once wanted to be a singer, a model. She always wanted to be popular. What's happening now is that she got one million followers. We're afraid Julia will carry the inevitable. The internet won't forget, and it's obvious that Julia isn't Maddie. We are devastated at this current situation."

What happened to Madeleine McCann?

Three-year-old Madeleine McCann, who lived in Rothley, Leicestershire, was on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry, and her younger twin siblings in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when she went missing in May 2007. She was just days away from her fourth birthday.

Her parents had left their three children asleep in an apartment on the evening of 3 May while they dined with friends in a restaurant a short distance away. They checked on the children throughout the evening and it was while checking on them at around 10pm that Kate McCann discovered that their eldest child had gone missing from her bed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Over the years which followed there have been various investigations, including from the Portuguese and British police, costing millions of pounds, as officials try to discover what happened to the little girl. Scotland Yard also opened its own inquiry, called Operation Grange, in 2011 but this was scaled back in 2015.

The Home Office confirmed earlier this year that they received an application for further funding for the investigation, and it is thought that police will be given thousands of pounds to help them continue to look for Madeline, who’s 20th birthday will be on 12 May.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.