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Madeleine McCann is one of the world’s most well-known cases of a child gone missing. Recently a young Polish woman who goes by the name of Julia Faustyna has come out on social media claiming to be missing Madeleine McCann. Her claims have caused a frenzy on all social media platforms as people try to investigate her allegations. People are quickly losing sight of the facts that we already have in the Madeleine McCann case and are being swept up in the rumors and hearsay. It is important to do your due diligence as a consumer of media and fact-check before spreading “news”. Here, we will explore both the case of Madeleine McCann and deep dive into Julia Faustyna’s claims. As much as we all want Madeleine to be found evidence is showing us that Julia is more than likely not Madeleine McCann. 

Madeleine’s Story 

Madeleine McCann was born to parents Gerry McCann and Kate McCann on May 12th, 2003. Madeleine was Gerry and Kate’sfirstbornn child and she was born utilizing in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy. She was born into an incredibly loving home where she was very much wanted. The McCanns decided to go on a family vacation to Praia Da Luz in Portugal in May of 2007. It was reported that right before boarding the plane Kate had expressed second thoughts to her husband about even taking the trip. 

On May 3rd, 2007, Madeleine McCann went missing from their scenic vacation apartment in Portugal. The McCanns, along with other parents’ friends had gone down to have dinner around 8:00 pm leaving their children to sleep alone in their apartment. The adults created a schedule where once an hour someone would go check on all the children and make sure everything was okay. Kate McCann conducted the final check where she discovered that Madeleine was missing from her bed. 

  • The Media and the Police

The media’s response to Maddie McCann being missing has been scrutinized since the start of the investigation. A thorough and swift investigation is imperative when it comes to missing persons, specifically missing children cases. If a person isn’t found within 48 hours after they have disappeared the likelihood of them ever being found decreases significantly. Like in a lot of high-profile missing children cases or even murdered children cases (think JonBenet Ramsey) the police’s investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance was less than satisfactory, to say the least. 

The police also used tools and came to conclusions that were proven to not be sound in a court of law. One reason the police and media kept pushing that Madeleine was murdered is that the police used dogs that could sense human decay. The dogs alerted authorities that they did sense human decay illuding to the understanding that Madeleine must have been murdered in their apartment. Often, evidence compiled by scent dogs are not even admissible in a court of law, due the practice of using scent dogs is often not sound evidence. 

Also, for an animal to pick up the scent of human decay the body would have had to been in that area for more than 24 hours. From the day that Madeleine disappeared to when the dogs were used was within one day. This evidence should have never held as much weight as it did at the time. This derailed police into thinking the McCans had a hand in Madeleine’s disappearance. 

Authorities also got hung up on a man named Robert Murat, a local resident of Praia Da Luz. Murat was highly involved in the case from the beginning. Although it is known that often serial killers will return to their crimes or try to involve themself in the investigation, this was not the case for Murat. He has a daughter of his own and his original intention was to help with the language barrier between the McCann Family and authorities. Murat was the first suspect to be named in the Madeleine McCann case before the parents were under suspicion. 

These allegations destroyed Murat’s life. The media was falsely reporting on him and slandering his name. It was not until 2008 that Murat’s name was fully cleared. Also in 2008, Murat collected damages after a court case where he sued the tabloids for defamation. Media would report that Murat and his wife were part of a pedophilia ring and claimed that Murat was also a pedophile. The media really took the suspicion of Murat and ran with it, along with the police. While the police and the media were so focused on the wrong person, who knows what was happening to Maddie while the real perpetrator was out scot-free? 

  • Christain Brueckner

Brueckner has come into the spotlight in the last year because of his charges of rape and child abuse charges. Brueckner committed these heinous acts between 2000 and 2017 in Portugal, near where the McCann’s were vacationing. Brueckner has not been charged or formally linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and police claim they are still combing through evidence and uncovering more crimes committed by Brueckner. He was in jail on rape charges when in 2022 he was charged with additional charges of two counts of child abuse and two more counts of rape. It seems the more the police investigate the more crime they find on Brueckner. 

Julia’s Story

Julia Wendell who also goes by Julia Faustyna or Julia Wendlet has taken the internet by storm by claiming that she is the missing Madeleine McCann. Julia is a 21-year-old woman currently residing in Germany and is said to have been raised in Poland. Julia makes these claims due to some striking similarities between her and Madeleine. She makes notes of facial features such as her nose, mouth, and specifically the smudge on her eye that seems to mimic the same birth defect that Madeleine had. 

Madeleine had what is known as a coloboma which caused her pupil to be misshapen. A coloboma is a gap in part of the eye structure that can affect the iris, lens, or retina. The most common form of coloboma is when it affects the iris like in Madeleine’s eye. One in every ten thousand people has a type of coloboma which makes it a rare condition. 

Julia also believes she may be Madeleine because her parents allegedly have never shown Julia pictures of her mother pregnant and Julia claims that she doesn’t have any memory from her early childhood. The memories she does remember are of trauma and abuse. She frequently speaks about the trauma and abuse she has experienced. At times it can be hard to watch and listen to. If Julia is not Madeleine McCann it is evident that she has gone through some kind of trauma and may require some psychological help and support. 

  • Who is Dr. Fia Johansson?

Dr. Johansson is currently representing Julia in some type of way as she navigates her claims of being Madeleine. Dr. Johansson is a well-known medium in Beverly Hills California known as the “Persian Medium”. Dr. Johansson is an American psychic that has been featured in Forbes Magazine, utilized as a keynote speaker, and offers her psychic services to not only anyone willing to pay but also to law enforcement. On her website, the Persian Medium, Dr. Johansson also claims to be a licensed private investigator. In 2020 Dr. Johansson made claims that through her abilities she was able to conclude that Maddie is alive and has been adopted and is currently living in Germany. She claims that Maddie does not know that she is Madeleine McCann. 

Dr. Johansson has flown to Germany to be with Julia and support her on her journey. Dr. Johansson fully believes that Julia is Madeleine McCann. On Julia’s Instagram that now has over one million followers Dr. Johansson’s name and contact info are pinned for “press and media inquiries” with Julia captioning the post as “this is the contact for my spokesman”. The relationship between Julia and Dr. Johansson gives off a strange impression. Dr. Johansson seems more focused on making statements and engaging with the media than actually trying to help Julia find the truth. 

Julia’s Family Responds

Julia has allegedly made statements to news outlets that they are devastated by their daughter’s behavior. They claim that there is no question that Julia is their child while also allegedly refusing to take a DNA test. If the parents of Julia took the DNA test it would clear up the question if Julia is Madeleine McCann. 

However the parents allegedly still refuse to take a DNA test and they claim they do not want to feed into Julia’s delusions and that Julia suffers from many mental health issues and is overall “unwell”. To be fair, if I asked my own parents for a DNA test for any reason I imagine it wouldn’t be well received. If their daughter is so unwell however and might even need help, it might be wise for her family to clear up the suspicion of who Julia is. Keep in mind that the McCann family has been notified of Julia and her claims. We can only imagine how they must feel after losing their daughter in 2007 and having someone claim so many years later that she might have possibly been found. 

It must be such a sad and devastating experience for the McCanns. Julia’s parents have also been quoted saying they empathize and feel bad for the McCann family and how their daughter is behaving. And yet they still are allegedly refusing a test that could give a clear answer.  

The Internets Response 

The internet has gone crazy over Julia’s allegations that she might be Madeleine McCann. Everyone is giving their two cents and obviously, people are completely 50-50 on whether they believe Julia is actually Madeleine McCann. Madeleine McCann is and was such national news that the entire world is tuned into Julia’s allegations and everyone is on pins and needles awaiting a conclusive statement. Many social media accounts have expressed strong opinions on whether Julia is or isn’t Madeleine McCann. It all feels more dramatic than it should for the nature of the case and people are losing sight of the original facts of the case. Madeleine would be 19 today and Julia claims she is 21. Although being that Julia claims she doesn’t remember the bulk of her childhood she could have her own age wrong. 

After hearing Julia’s testimony the internet convinced Julia to show pictures of her parents. Julia complied and released images of both her mother and father. After she released them she quickly took them down because it was evident that while she does have similarities with the McCann’s she also looks like her parents as well. 

Missing and Exploited Children 

In most missing children cases the child is not being taken to be killed or murdered, rather they are taken for another reason. These reasons can include general kidnapping, IE someone stealing a child to subsequently have the child for themself, and sex trafficking. The Human Trafficking Institute writes, “The Internal Labor Organization estimated there were 4.8 million sex trafficking victims experiencing commercial sexual exploitation around the world in 2016. This category includes any adults who involuntarily participate in the sex industry and children experiencing commercial sexual exploitation. 3.8 million victims were adults, and 1 million were children. Globally, 99% of victims were women and girls.”

Sex trafficking is a much larger global issue than most people think. Likely because it’s hard for many to believe that many people are victims of sex trafficking. During the investigation, more than one person participating in sex trafficking was discovered and prosecuted. Brueckner was also arrested and continues to gain more sexual abuse charges as he sits in jail. The point is there was no short supply of pedophiles and sex traffickers in the area where the McCann’s took their vacation. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that everyone, worldwide wants to find Madeleine McCann or at the bare minimum know the truth of what happened to her. Many would want to believe that Julia is Maddie. It is natural to be so hopeful that people just want to believe there is a conclusion to this devastating story. However, the evidence being presented currently does not reach any solid conclusions that Julia is Madeleine McCann. DNA evidence can have the final say in solving this mystery. Either way, the Madeleine McCann case is still an ongoing, open police investigation case in more than one country. We hope that regardless of the outcome whether or not Julia is Madeleine McCann that Julia can find peace and healing.

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About The Author

Julie Johansson

Educated in Criminal Justice and a true crime junkie. Former mall cop, fur mom and women's rights advocate. I am trying to engage in more important topics and writing is how I connect with my community and the world.

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