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 does not remember most of her childhood save holidays in hot places with white-colored apartments. “I remember that I saw [turtles] on the beach it was little bay as I can remember I saw [turtles] then and there were another children and they tried to touch small [turtles]. I don’t see my family in this memory,” she wrote on the Instagram account @iammadeleinemccann she launched over the weekend.
McCann, who has an eye defect known as a coloboma on her right eye in the same place Faustyna does, was sleeping in a room with her younger twin siblings as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar on the night of May 3, 2007 in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Police immediately suspected her parents were involved in her disappearance, which proved 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 does not believe is her real blood relative. She has also posted photos of herself as a child that indisputably show a resemblance. “I have similar eyes, shape of face, ears, lips, I had the gap between the teeth,” she wrote in one post. “I need to know the truth. I need dna test and I need to talk with Madeleine’s parents. Help me!”
She also posted a police sketch from McCann’s missing person page of the man many people say they saw carrying a young child in the resort the night she disappeared who she says looks familiar. “I recognise this person..it looks very similar to my abbuser,” she wrote. “I need you to help me because Police ignore me.”
A spokesperson for the McCann family said they will 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. “Thank you for support! Kate and Gerry McCann agreed for DNA test!”
It is believed that the McCanns will consent to a test.
Faustyna also posted a tearful video saying her own family has condemned her story and told her she is “horrible” for giving the McCann family hope that she might be their missing child. On Tuesday morning Faustyna named Fia Johansson as her spokesperson. Johansson posted that Faustyna was emotionally exhausted from online abuse since her claims were made public, and confirmed that they had been in touch 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 was working as a handyman in the same resort where McCann disappeared and was found with little girl swimming suits and child pornography in his possession some years after his arrest. He has been charged with a number of sex crimes, but so far has not officially been charged in connection to McCann’s disappearance.