Madeleine McCann and Julia Wendell: The Mystery Has Been Solved

The Julia Wendell mystery has been solved. This is massive, as Wendell has been claiming for months that she might be a missing person named Madeleine McCann. However, a DNA test has recently revealed that this just isn’t the case.

Fia Johansson, the representative for Wendell, has stated her client is “100% from Poland.” Meanwhile, Madeleine McCann is British, meaning they can’t be the same person. 

“She is a small percentage of Lithuanian and Russian,” said Johansson, “but the test results show she is Polish.”

Now, this news is going to be devastating for a whack of people. Yet, to understand how tragic this situation is, we need to go back to 2007 and work forwards.

The McCann Disappearance

A photo of Madeleine McCann.
Image: Getty Images

In 2007, two UK parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, lost their daughter while enjoying a holiday in Portugal. The girl in question was a three-year-old named Madeleine McCann. To this day, it’s unclear how she disappeared and we still don’t know what happened to this little girl.

In the intervening years, Kate and Gerry have kept asking questions about their daughter. In 2010, they asked the public to “pray like mad” for answers to emerge. In 2011, they released a whole book asking for information. 

Additionally, in 2020, this couple said, “All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth, and bring those responsible to justice. We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”

Meanwhile, the UK’s Metropolitan Police and the Portuguese police have both tried to uncover what happened to Madeleine. In April of 2022, Portuguese prosecutors even announced a new kidnapping suspect, Christian Brueckner. However, Brueckner hasn’t been prosecuted for this specific crime and he probably won’t be charged anytime during 2023.

If Madeleine McCann was still alive today, she would now be 19 years old. 

A New McCann Mystery

Kate and Gerry McCann with a photo of Madeleine McCann
Image: Getty Images

In February of 2023, 16 years after Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, a young Polish woman named Julia Wendell took to Instagram. She asserted that she might in fact be this missing person. 

“I think I can be Madeleine,” said Wendell. “I need a DNA test.” 

Wendell believed that she might’ve been Madeleine for the following reasons:

  1. She claimed to have the same freckles and markings as Madeleine.
  2. She claimed that she has similar features as Madeleine.
  3. She claimed not to remember much from her childhood.
  4. She claimed that she doesn’t have any photos from her early childhood.

“I have asked for pictures of when my mum was pregnant with me, other medical records, and any pictures from my childhood, and she never shows them, she just always tells me I’m crazy,” said Wendell. “My school teacher, when I was very young, said that I wasn’t there from the start, but my parents insist I was.”

However, it’s worth noting that Wendell’s family appear to have disputed these claims. 

“We have memories,” the family allegedly said in a statement. “We have pictures… She took them from the family home with the birth certificate, as well as numerous hospital discharges.”

“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.”

Now, please take this family statement with a tiny grain of salt. Because the website that published this statement isn’t an official government organisation. There’s a possibility that this statement was written by internet trolls and not Julia Wendell’s relatives.

A Harassment Campaign

Warning: This section deals with the topic of targeted violence and may be triggering for some readers.

Unfortunately, when it comes to discussing McCann’s disappearance, the internet can be a cruel place. For instance, when Wendell claimed that she might be McCann, she became the target of a coordinated attack. 

Yup, Wendell was up against “a severe and credible death threat” and had a “price on her head.” All over questioning her identity. These threats even forced this woman to delete her Instagram account and travel from Germany to the United States. 

PSA: Don’t do this. ‘Cause these harassers achieved nothing. All these people did was scare a young woman. And even if Wendell’s DNA test results had dropped at this junction, such behaviour is never acceptable. 

This harassment campaign has additionally upset Fia Johansson.

“Regardless of your opinions, she is a human being who deserves respect,” said Johansson. “Her background was challenging and messy. There is no need to spew hatred, judgement, and especially threats towards a person in need. This is unacceptable and needs to stop.”

If this section brings up any issues for you or anyone you know, or you have experienced targeted violence, please contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

The DNA Tests Then Happened

A picture of Madeleine McCann at hospital.
Image: Getty Images

After Wendell travelled from Germany to the United States, she took the previously discussed DNA test which has now shown that she isn’t Madeleine McCann.

However, Johansson is still sticking up for Wendell. This is probably because Johansson has claimed to have some evidence that proves Wendell’s life circumstances aren’t normal. 

In a statement, Johansson said that there was lots of proof that Wendell was “definitely trafficked to Poland from another country” and “definitely not the biological daughter of her parents in Poland.”

Is This Polish Woman Livia Schepp?

Warning: This section deals with the topic of suicide and may be triggering for some readers.

In 2011, two six-year-old Swiss girls, Alessia and Livia Schepp, went missing. Their disappearance happened while they were holidaying with their father, Matthias Schepp, in Italy and France. This fact shattered their mother, Irina Lucidi, and a massive hunt for these children was subsequently actioned. 

In a letter obtained by Swiss police, Matthias claimed to have killed his twins. To make matters worse, Matthias was not available for questioning as he had jumped in front of a train in Italy. 

Yet, because the bodies of Alessia and Livia were never discovered, some people believe that they might still be alive. One such person who previously contemplated this idea was in fact Julia Wendell. She has even taken a DNA test to determine if she’s Livia. 

Johansson has told The Sun that Wendell is “very open to the idea that she may be Livia Schepp.”

“I’ve spoken to her about this, and she is open to the fact she could be any missing child out there, not just Madeleine.”

But, as you might have already realised, if Julia Wendell is “100% from Poland,” it’s impossible for her to be 100% Swiss. This means that Julia Wendell isn’t Livia Schepp.

If this section brought up any issues for you or anyone you know, or you are experiencing suicidal ideation or are at risk, please contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), all of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

The Facial Recognition Controversy

An old picture of Madeleine McCann
Image: Getty Images

In late March, a tech company named Deep Impact took a big swing at solving this mystery. They claimed that their facial recognition software proved that Julia Wendell cannot be Madeleine McCann. Which, aye, ended up being correct.

“Her childhood photos were matched with her current face and also a current photo with a photo of Maddie,” said Deep Impact’s CEO, Christian Fehrlin.

“The results were very clear. It is impossible.”

Deep Impact has stated that this facial recognition software is sucessfully used by numerous police forces and government institutes. However, while this tech is both fascinating and scary, it’s no substitute for a bonafide DNA test. 

Dr Phil, Meet Julia Wendell

March was a big month for this case. ‘Cause not only did Deep Impact make their claims, but Julia Wendell and Fia Johansson also made their case to the public. They once again stated that Wendell might be Madeleine McCann. What’s more, they did so by going on Phillip Calvin McGraw’s Dr Phil programme. 

Now, this episode gave us a lot to unpack, so we’re going to break things down into some sections. They are as follows:

Hospital Claims

In this ep, Johansson claimed that multiple Polish hospitals didn’t have Wendell’s birth certificate. She also reasserted her belief that Wendell’s family is lying.

“One of my team members basically drove almost three hours to the hospital that the mother claimed that she birthed her,” said Johansson. “We didn’t find anything.” 

“They said, ‘We don’t have any here.’ So we went to another hospital, they said the same thing.” 

This member of Johansson’s team then allegedly went to one last hospital. This joint also didn’t have Wendell’s records.

Dr Phil’s Big Questions

Now, to Dr Phil’s credit, this programme wasn’t a Julia Wendell PR fest and Dr Phil actually dropped some decent questions into his chat.

Dr Phil asked Wendell what she would do if she’s not Madeleine McCann and is instead biologically related to her mother. Wendell replied, “I don’t know.”

The Family Statement

It’s also worth noting that the production obtained a statement from Julia Wendell’s family. And this statement is super similar to one that was anonymously posted online.

An excerpt from this statement is as follows: “We always tried to understand all situations that happened with Julia. Threats to our address from Julia, her lies, and manipulations, activity on the internet.”

“The internet won’t forget, and it’s obvious that Julia isn’t Maddie. We are devastated at this current situation.”

Julia Wendell: What Happens Next

While Julia Wendell now knows that she isn’t Madeleine McCann, there’s a chance that this journey isn’t over. This is because if Wendell still believes she has been trafficked, she might work with a private investigator to try and dig up some info regarding her origins. 

Yet, as of April 2023, Wendell has the truth. Let’s just hope that it’s enough for now. Let’s just hope that she finds a slither of peace.

Related: Cassius Turvey’s Murder Case — Who’s Been Charged

Related: Who Is Chris Dawson and Did a Podcast Send Him to Jail?

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.