A Polish woman with a complicated childhood, a coloboma in her right eye and moles on her leg says she could be Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who has been missing since 2007 after disappearing from a holiday resort in Portugal.
Julia Faustyna, 21, who has also been referred to as Julia Wandelt and Julia Wendell, says she doesn’t remember most of her childhood, apart from holidays in warm places with white flats. “I remember seeing (turtles) on the beach there was a small bay that I remember seeing (turtles) then and there were several children and they were trying to touch small (turtles). I don’t see my family in this the memory,” she wrote on the Instagram account @iammadeleinemccann she launched at the weekend.
McCann, who has an eye defect known as a coloboma on her right eye in the same place as Faustyna does, slept in a room with her younger twin siblings while her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar on the night of May 3, 2007 in Praia da Luz , Portugal. The police immediately suspected that her parents were involved in her disappearance, which turned out to be a distraction that may have allowed the real kidnapper to get away.
Faustyna says she learned about McCann’s case from her grandmother, who she now doesn’t believe is her real relative. She has also posted pictures of herself as a child that unmistakably bear a resemblance. “I have similar eyes, face shape, ears, lips, I had the gap between my teeth,” she wrote in a post. “I need to know the truth. I need a DNA test and I need to talk to Madeleine’s parents. Help me!”
She also posted a police sketch from the McCann’s missing page of the man many say they saw carrying a small child at the resort the night she disappeared who she says looks familiar. “I recognize this person…he looks a lot like my abuser,” she wrote. “I need you to help me because the police are ignoring me.”
A spokesperson for the McCann family said they would not comment publicly on the matter, but a friend close to the family confirmed to The Daily Beast that the McCann family is willing to follow up on the lead. Faustyna wrote on her Instagram page that the McCann family has agreed to submit DNA for a test. “Thanks for your help! Kate and Gerry McCann agreed to a DNA test!”
It is believed the McCanns will consent to a test.
Faustyna also posted a tearful video in which she said her own family has condemned her story and told her she is “terrible” for giving the McCann family hope that she could be their missing child. On Tuesday morning, Faustyna appointed Fia Johansson as her spokesperson. Johansson posted that Faustyna was emotionally drained by online abuse since her allegations were made public, and confirmed they had been in contact with the McCann family.
The only suspect in the disappearance is German native Christian Brueckner (45), who is serving a seven-year sentence in Germany for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman. He worked as a handyman at the same resort where McCann disappeared and was found with little girls’ bathing suits and child pornography in his possession a few years after his arrest. He has been charged with a number of sexual offences, but has so far not been officially charged in connection with McCann’s disappearance.