Julia wearing pink and Madeleine McCann in her red dress
True Crime

I Am Madeleine McCann girl timeline update: McCanns break silence, ‘financial gain’ claims and reaction to DNA results

'The main thing is I think I can be Madeleine'

| Updated:

‘I am Madeleine McCann‘ girl Julia Wandelt went viral in February after she claimed that she could be missing Madeleine. Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in May 2007, with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann never giving up hope of finding their daughter.

Earlier this year, Julia Wandelt came forward and, in a series of social media posts, she claimed that she thinks she could be Madeleine McCann. So what’s happened since then and what claims has she made? Read on to find out…

Madeleine McCann girl Julia chatting to camera
Julia’s story went viral in February when she claimed she could be Madeleine McCann (Credit: Instagram)

February 13: Julia shares tragic back story on Facebook

On February 13, Julia – under the name Julia Faustyna – shared her traumatic back story on the True Crime Room: Murdered, Missing & Mysteries Facebook page.

In a long and detailed post, Julia – who thinks she is 21 – outlined the reasons why she thinks she could be Madeleine, who would be 19. She also revealed some devastating details about her childhood and made claims that she was abused by a paedophile.

She said: “Maybe it’s not the right place to tell it but I’m losing my hope. The main thing is I think I can be Madeleine.” Julia claimed to have contacted Operation Grange, the investigation opened to find Madeleine. However, she alleged she was told the investigation would be closing soon.

She said: “Let me start by saying that I remember practically nothing from my childhood, including the late one. I have post-traumatic amnesia.

The main thing is I think I can be Madeleine.

“I was the victim of a German pedophile. The consequences of the trauma I suffered increasingly prevented me from functioning normally. At the end of 2018 I ended up in a psychiatric ward for children and adolescents. That’s when I started therapy.

“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.”

She went on to claim: “I have CPTSD – complex post-traumatic stress disorder.” Pleading for help to discover her true identity, she concluded: “I am writing this because I want this issue to be taken seriously.”

Dr Fia and I am Madeleine McCann girl Julia looking sad
Dr Fia flew over to be with Julia in Poland, before taking her back to the States (Credit: Instagram)

Julia on her ‘abuse’

In the same February 13 post, she shared: “Overall, the subject of my abuse in the family is very much avoided, by basically everyone.” She claimed her abuser had spent time in prison and said: “He was in prison. There was a criminal sentence, a final one. In any case, the person in the drawing I recognise is my abuse.”

She then claimed that a medical student alleged they had seen Madeleine in Poland days after her disappearance. Julia said it was the same place that she lived at the time.

February 15: ‘I am Madeleine McCann’ claims hit Instagram

On February 15, Julia first made her claims that she could be Madeleine McCann on Instagram. She started up an Instagram page @iammadeleinemccan and shared her first post. It featured an image of Julia with a man whose face had been obscured.

The post also shared a picture of her alone. She captioned it with a variety of hashtags including ones which read “Madeleine McCann”, “help me”, “missing” and “find me”.

Julia’s Instagram biography at the time read: “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.”

First memory

On the same day, Julia also shared images of herself as a child and revealed what she claims to be her first memory. She claimed: “First reason… I don’t remember most of my childhood but my earliest memory is very strong. It’s about holidays in a  hot place where was beach and white or very light coloured buildings with apartments. I don’t see my family in this memory.”

As those following the Madeleine McCann case will know, she went missing from a beach resort in Portugal. And images of the holiday apartment she was last seen in show low-rise white-washed buildings.

Shortly after this she shared a photofit of a man from the official Find Madeleine website. Julia claimed to recognise the man and alleged: “He looks very similar to my abuser.”

And it’s then that she made her plea to Kate and Gerry. “I need police to make DNA test to me and compare it with Madeleine’s DNA. I need to talk with Kate and Gerry McCann,” she said.

Same eye mark as Madeleine

Later on February 15, Julia shared more evidence that she alleged supported her claims she could be Madeleine. She shared several pictures claiming to show a similar marking in her eye to the one Madeleine had as a child.

The post was captioned: “I have mark in the same eye, but my mark is faded. I talked with eye doctor and he told me that it could be operated and I will go to doctor again to check it.”

Julia continued to share pictures of herself side-by-side with Madeleine. The next post was captioned: “I have similar eyes, shape of face, ears, lips, I had the gap between the teeth.”

She also tagged the Met Police in her post. Julia went on to share an artist’s impression of what Madeleine could look like now, alongside pictures of herself.

Dr Fia and I am Madeleine McCann girl Julia looking sad
Julia appeared to suggest her investigation had moved forward (Credit: Instagram)

February 16: Julia insists she is ‘real’

Following backlash and questions from people who had heard about her claims, Julia hosted her first Instagram Live. She captioned the post: “I am real,” and answered questions from her followers.

She also revealed that she was “very stressed”. Julia also renewed her plea to the McCanns for a DNA test. Later that day, Julia produced what she claimed to be more evidence that she could be Madeleine. She pointed out several “spots” – or freckles – that she has on her body in similar places to Madeleine.

Julia also shared an image of a close up of a freckle under her eye in a similar position to one Madeleine had as a child. She said: “Another proof. I didn’t see it earlier. One person sent me this info. Thank you for support.”

Later that night she went live again from her home in Poland. She answered more questions from followers and said she has no pictures of herself as a baby.

February 17: McCanns urged to act

The parents of Madeleine McCann, Kate and Gerry McCann, were urged to act on Julia’s claims by their supporters on February 17. Although they haven’t made a comment about the claims, comments started to appear on a post that they shared to Facebook early in January.

The post wished their followers a happy new year and shared their hope that one day their daughter would be found. In the comments section, online sleuths started to post links to Julia’s social media videos. They urged Kate and Gerry not to “ignore” her claims.

Kate and Gerry’s reps have since told ED! that the couple will not currently be making any comment or statement.

Kate McCann looking pained in a TV interview
Kate McCann was said to have agreed to a DNA test with Julia, the woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann (Credit: YouTube)

Julia shares Kate and Gerry similarities

Later on February 17, Julia shared images of herself alongside Kate and Gerry McCann. She appeared to suggest that she looks like Madeleine’s parents. However, she was hit with a backlash. One follower claimed: “Lips are different. Face doesn’t register with me.”

However, not everyone felt the same. Another commented and claimed: “Looks the spit of Gerry.” Julia also shared a post urging followers to “look at my ears” and included a picture where you could see Gerry’s ears. One online sleuth commented: “I’m sorry to me it’s nothing alike. Completely different features.”

Julia also shared an image of her childhood teeth alongside a picture of Madeleine, appearing to suggest they were similar. She then shared a picture of herself and Madeleine at around the same age. “Definitely not the same child,” one follower blasted. However, others urged: “Even if she isn’t Maddie she still needs help! Whats wrong with people?!”

Later that night Julia went live again on Instagram, answering questions from her followers.

Julia thanks her supporters

She ended February 17 with a message of thanks to her supporters. She also shared more pictures of herself and Madeleine.

“Thank you for support that you give me and for haters I have to say that I am not kidding and I truly believe that I can be her. I didn’t take money from anyone and I am not going to do this because police should do DNA test to me and compare it with Kate and Gerry McCann’s DNA. That’s all,” she concluded.

February 18: Julia appeals to TikTok users

The following day, February 18, Julia shared her claims on TikTok. It was there that she made unsubstantiated claims she had been in touch with a member of Madeleine’s family.

She alleged: “I talked with someone from Madeleine’s family and I will have a possibility to talk with Madeleine’s parents today and DNA test will be done soon.”

Over on Instagram Julia was emotional. Weeping, she declared: “I don’t know why there is so much hate.”

Dr Fia Johansson chatting to camera
Dr Fia Johansson is the woman helping I am Madeleine McCann girl Julia (Credit: Instagram)

February 19: Dr Fia Johansson gets in touch

The following day, February 19, Dr Fia Johansson – the Persian Medium – got in touch with Julia in the comments section of her Instagram post.

She wrote: “Darling, I always believed she was alive. I’m a psychic detective that predicts she is from Germany. I will ensure the authorities and family pay attention to you and start the DNA test ASAP. Google Fia Johansson and Madeleine’s names, then you will see many articles about what I said.

“I wish you luck, girl – don’t give up. Be patient as you were for so many years,” she urged. The pair seemingly had contact later that day, before hosting their first Instagram Live later that night.

New theory about Kate McCann

February 19 also saw Julia share a new theory about Kate McCann – and it was one that was given weight by Entertainment Daily readers on Facebook.

Julia shared a selection of images of Madeleine’s mother alleging to show similarities between herself and Julia. In the Instagram post, which was un-captioned, she appeared to suggest they resemble each other. Pictures show Kate and Julia’s nose, mouth, eyes and smile side by side.

One ED! reader alleged: “She has the exact same teeth and smile as Kate.” Another claimed: “I think she has a look of Kate McCann.” A third commented to alleged: “She does look like a female Gerry McCann, so she could be telling the truth!”

Gerry McCann looking upset in a TV interview
Gerry McCann has never given up his search for Madeleine (Credit: YouTube)

February 20: Claims McCanns agree to DNA test

Julia then made another an unsubstantiated claim that the McCann family had agreed to take part in a DNA test with her. She changed her Instagram biography to allege: “Thank you for support! Kate and Gerry McCann agreed for DNA test!”

Sharing a newspaper article about her desire for contact with the McCanns and a DNA test, she claimed: “They agreed!!!!” Neither the McCanns or their representatives have publicly commented on Julia or any of her claims.

Dr Fia alleges contact with the McCanns

On February 21, Dr Fia Johansson alleged that she had been in touch with the McCanns. In unsubstantiated claims, she told Julia: “I have to tell you that Kate is really taking you seriously right now and they actually going to connect you and make that DNA test to happen.”

Missing girl Inga wearing a pink hoodie
Inga went missing at a BBQ in 2015 (Credit: Police Department of Saxony-Anhalt)

Madeleine McCann sleuths claim Julia looks like another missing girl

However, comments on social media then started to suggest that Julia looks more like another high-profile missing girl. In fact, armchair detectives think Julia is looking in the wrong place for her identity.

Inga Gehricke, dubbed the ‘German Maddie’, went missing in May 2015. She was at a BBQ in a forest in Schönebeck, Saxony-Anhalt and went to collect wood for a campfire. However, while the other children returned, Inga didn’t – and there has been no sign of her ever since.

Back in 2020, the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann disappearance, Christian Brueckner, was linked to Inga’s disappearance. Now armchair sleuths have claimed that they think Julia looks more like Inga than Madeleine.

Posting on the same True Crime Facebook page, one commenter claimed: “Going off the Madeleine McCann case and the new information about the girl that’s been trying to come forward about how she thinks she believes she’s Madeleine, there’s another little girl that disappeared and her name is Inga Gehricke. To me, Julia looks a bit more like Inga.”

Julia given warning as she issues DNA test update

Overnight on February 20, Julia and Dr Fia went live on Instagram again. This time, they gave an update about the DNA test that Julia is seeking with the McCanns.

She told Dr Fia: “People ask many questions about DNA test. They ask why isn’t it done yet.” Dr Fia replied: “Everything about the DNA test is a process. It’s not about that tomorrow we can get it done and it’s all correct because you already have a family. It has to go in all those legal aspects. It’s not something that’s going to happen tomorrow and then the day after you’re going to figure it out. It’s maybe going to take weeks to get that.”

She then added: “When we are ready to say when and how and if we’re allowed to say, we are telling people. At this moment we are not and we are not going to say exactly when, where and how.”

She also issued a warning to Julia, urging her not to go live on social media on her own again. We have to be careful about what we are saying and how we are saying it,” she concluded.

Madeleine McCann girl Julia and Dr Fia on an Instagram Live
Julia and Dr Fia have taken part in numerous Instagram Live chats (Credit: Instagram)

February 21: Dr Fia declares ‘threats’ to Julia ‘need to stop’

In a post reshared on Julia’s Instagram page on February 21, Dr Fia can be seen in her car speaking to camera. In the video, she urged people following the case to be patient.

“To everyone interested in Julia’s search for answers, please understand we are in the middle of an investigation. This is a vulnerable woman seeking answers about her identity and her life. Regardless of your opinions, she is a human being who deserves respect. When everything is done in the investigation in a few weeks, you can learn more, but more now, please respect this woman’s privacy.”

She then added: “Her background was challenging and messy. There is no need to spew hatred, judgment, and especially threats towards a person in need. This is unacceptable and needs to stop.”

Dr Fia is now acting as Julia’s spokesperson. In their most recent Instagram Live, Julia told Dr Fia that she had taken part in an interview with a member of the Polish media. Much like her Instagram lives, Dr Fia urged Julia to not speak to the press on her own again.

February 21: Kate and Gerry’s ‘pain’

Reports emerged claiming that Madeleine’s parents are reportedly suffering “unnecessary pain” over the claims. A source close to the family spoke to The Sun about the McCanns’ suffering.

“It causes unnecessary pain for Kate and Gerry,” they said. “So many false claims have been made over the years and they don’t need any more,” they continued.

Also today, Julia’s rep claimed they would to take legal action against her family to get a DNA test done. The Find Madeleine Campaign on Facebook also seemingly acted over Julia’s claims.

The ability to comment on the most recent posts on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign’s Facebook page were removed. And comments on the most recent post urging the McCanns to act also appear to have been removed.

February 23: Investigator hired by McCanns shuts down claims

Private investigator Francisco Marco gave a TV interview rubbishing Julia’s claims. Speaking on Spanish TV, Marco – who was hired by Kate and Gerry in the wake of Madeleine’s disappearance alleged that he’s carried out a “biometric search” to compare Julia’s features to Madeleine’s. And he said that there is “no resemblance” between the pair.

February 24: Julia’s family break their silence

Julia’s family are reported to have finally spoken out. They declared they have “memories and pictures” and said it is “obvious” Julia is a member of their family.

Dr Fia and I am Madeleine McCann girl Julia standing in the street
The ladies had a long wait in the cold (Credit: Instagram)

February 26: Polish police address claims

Police in Poland followed up the family’s statement with one of their own. Pawel Noga from the Provincial Police Headquarters in Wroclaw is reported to have spoken to Polish newspaper Gazeta.

Noga alleged that the authorities have “ruled out” all possibility that Julia’s claims are true. Furthermore, it’s been claimed that her family have handed over the necessary documents to the authorities in an attempt to prove her identity.

March 1: Julia’s ‘dream comes true’

Julia took to social media to declare that her “dreams had come true” as Dr Fia arrived in Poland to support her. She later teased: “We have lots to reveal.” It was later claimed that Julia had carried out her DNA test.

March 2: Julia’s Instagram ‘removed’

Anyone checking for the latest news quickly spotted Julia’s profile on Instagram had vanished. Dr Fia alleged that it had been taken down by the social media network. She later claimed it would see be reinstated.

March 3: Dr Fia’s ‘big announcement’

Julia and Dr Fia continued to post using the celebrity psychic’s account. They shared a “big announcement” with followers, teasing what they claimed to be “shocking” news.

I am Madeline McCann girl Julia smiling in California
Julia is focusing on a healthy physical and mental lifestyle in California (Credit: Instagram)

March 4: ‘Credible death threat’ against Julia

Early March also saw Julia become the target of death threats. In fact, Dr Fia claimed there was a “price on her head“. Fearing for her safety, Dr Fia flew Julia from Poland back to her home in California.

March 9: Real reason DNA test was blocked

The real reason Julia was unable to take a DNA test with her current family in Poland was revealed by Dr Fia on March 9.

She said: “We can’t get a court order to force them to because there is a law against it in Poland. We went to the police in Poland to report her concerns she may be Madeleine McCann but they said they do not have any investigations about any missing persons outside the country.

“The country where Maddie is missing from – Portugal – would have to force Poland to look at it. So the police cannot say whether she is Madeleine or not Madeleine.”

I am Madeline McCann girl Julia smiling in California
Julia is currently in California after receiving death threats in Poland (Credit: Instagram)

Julia ‘didn’t exist’ till she was five years old

Also on March 9 more shocking claims about Julia’s past were made. Dr Fia alleged that, having obtained a copy of Julia’s medical records, there was no evidence that she existed in records before the age of five.

March 9 also saw Dr Fia claim police in America were “deeply concerned” for Julia following the death threats.

March 10: Julia finds ‘peace’ as ‘truth’ uncovered

Seemingly adjusting well to her new life in America, Dr Fia shared images of Julia looking happier and healthier than she has done over the past month.

She also said Julia had been able to finally find some “peace”. And she said that the girl was also “getting the truth“. “At this moment she is happy she is not alone and she is getting the truth,” she said.

Dr Fia Johansson on Dr Phil
Dr Fia Johansson has been sharing almost daily updates on Julia’s case (Credit: YouTube)

March 20: Cancer fears for Julia

After settling into life in America, Julia underwent tests with a doctor. Dr Fia shared her concerns for the girl, making claims that she was being checked for leukaemia.

She said: “Her health is very poor she has bad asthma and she suffers lots of pain in her bones. She is booked in for a CT and MRI scan because of the pain in her bones.” Dr Johansson then added that Julia is awaiting results to see if she has leukaemia – a cancer of the body’s white blood cells.

“Her blood work is also abnormal. So my doctor here in the US is investigating whether she could have leukaemia. So we are awaiting the results of that. And if she needs any treatment we will make sure she gets that.”

March 20 also saw new fears concerning Madeleine voiced by someone billed as the “living Nostradamus”. Athos Salomé has claimed to have predicted the death of the Queen, as well as coronavirus. He also theorised to the Daily Star that “black magic” may be involved in Madeleine going missing.

March 21: Find Madeleine Campaign finally breaks silence

Over on Facebook, the official Find Madeleine Campaign finally broke its silence following Julia’s claims. After updating its cover photo, supporters rushed to the comments to pray for Madeleine’s safe return.

Also today, Julia is threatened with legal action. It was claimed the legal representative got in contact on behalf of a man accused of allegedly molesting Julia.

The letter is reported to have read: “I call on you to immediately stop the grave violation of his personal rights – defaming him, publishing in the media a verdict from many years ago, and implying that he has something to do with the missing Madeleine McCann.”

Furthermore, the letter reportedly continued: “If you do not stop such actions – I will file a lawsuit against you for violations of personal rights and consider further steps on the criminal level.”

March 22: Gerry and Kate’s charity issues warning

The following day, Gerry and Kate McCann’s charity issued a warning over the safety of young children online.

The Find Madeleine Campaign shared a link to NBC News’article about social network Pinterest. It was claimed by the news network that “grown men on Pinterest” had been able to “openly create sex-themed image boards filled with pictures of little girls”.

As a result, Pinterest said that it has “dramatically” increased the number of human moderators on the site.

March 24: ‘Glimmer of hope’ for the McCanns

It was been claimed that there is a “glimmer of hope” Madeleine will be returned to her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her siblings, Sean and Amelie, alive and well. A former senior child protection officer who played a key role into the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance said he feels “we’re as close as we’ve ever been” to finding her.

Former senior child protection officer Jim Gamble shared his thoughts during a new interview with Sky News Australia. He said that, despite many false leads, he thinks we’ll find out what happened to Madeleine “in his lifetime”.

Also today, Julia sent a personal message to Madeleine’s mum, Kate McCann.

March 27: Find Madeleine Campaign to get funding boost?

Claims Operation Grange could be given funding worth hundreds of thousands of pounds surface. A source close to the investigation is reported to have told The Sun: “This is excellent news. Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry will be delighted. It gives fresh hope.”

Girl claiming to be Madeleine McCann on the Dr Phil show
Julia Wandelt, the girl claiming to be Madeleine McCann, appeared on Dr Phil (Credit: YouTube)

March 28: Julia appears on Dr Phil

Julia and Dr Fia appeared on American chat show Dr Phil, dropping a number of bombshells. However, after opening her heart to Dr Phil, Julia found herself the target of trolls who inundated her with abuse. Some viewers also blamed Dr Phil for taking advantage of her “vulnerability”

One viewer said: “Woman who claims to be Madeleine McCann is just another damaged attention-seeker.” Another viewer ranted: “It doesn’t take that long for a DNA test. She is not Maddie – just an attention seeker. Stop giving her air time.”

March 30: Bizarre twist

It seems as if she could be about to launch a music career after Dr Fia revealed she has “written and composed” 72 songs. Sharing a video of Julia singing into a microphone, Dr Fia wrote a lengthy caption. It began: “I’m so sorry for all the unnecessary pain you’ve been through since you were little.”

However, the following comments suggested music might be in the future for Julia. “I am so proud of you and the beautiful music you’ve created,” wrote Dr Fia. “I’m blown away that you’ve taken your hurt and turned them into 72 songs written and composed all by yourself. It’s time for each and every survivor of abuse out there, it’s time to get connected with your strength and talent, my team and I are here to help you get up and stand up for yourself! I AM YOUR VOICE.”

April 1: Dr Fia’s gut verdict

While they awaited the results of her DNA tests, Dr Fia delivered her verdict on Julia’s claims she could be Madeleine McCann. She has said that Julia was “hating” the verdict Dr Fia has reached but at the same time “loving it”. Dr Fia said in her “gut” she doesn’t believe Julia is Madeleine.

Also today, ED! readers took to the comments section of our Facebook page. They asked why the results of the DNA test were taking so long to come back.

April 2: Financial gain claims

After weeks in the limelight, some onlookers started making claims surrounding the money Julia and Dr Fia could allegedly be making from the media circus surrounding the case. Dr Fia soon shut them down, though.

Speaking during an Instagram post, Dr Fia responded to the question of payment that she claimed lots of people have been asking. Dr Fia told followers: “We didn’t actually get a dime to be involved with Dr Phil’s show. We didn’t receive anything, Julia [didn’t] receive anything, Julia just went on the stage and was herself and told the truth.

“A lot of you ask if Julia made some sort of money by going to any type of press, Radar for example, all other things… no. We did not pay them anything, they did not pay us anything.”

Also today, Dr Fia claims that she has Julia’s power of attorney.

I am Madeleine McCann girl Julia on Dr Fia
It’s alleged Julia experienced brain swelling which may have led to memory loss (Credit: YouTube)

April 3: Julia’s missing childhood memories explained?

April 3 saw Dr Fia reveal a “mysterious skull fracture” that Julia allegedly suffered as a child. She said that this could have contributed to Julia losing chunks of her memory from childhood.

Elsewhere today, Julia also read excerpts of her diary in an online video interview. It detailed her memories and contained flashbacks to worrying instances from her childhood.

I am Madeleine McCann girl Julia Wandelt smiling wearing pink
Julia Wandelt, the Polish girl who claimed she could be Madeleine McCann, has got her DNA results back (Credit: Instagram)

April 4: DNA results returned

The news everyone has been waiting for appeared on April 4 – it was announced Julia’s DNA results were back and she finally got the answers she deserves.

Read more: ‘I am Madeleine McCann’ girl urged to ‘show empathy’ to Kate and Gerry

YouTube video player

Head to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and share your thoughts.

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor