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18th Apr 2023

Police seize phone of woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann ahead of new investigation

Steve Hopkins

US investigators are taking a ‘deep look’ into the case

Police reportedly seized a phone belonging to a woman who believes she is Madeleine McCann amid reports her story has sparked a global probe.

Julia Wandelt, who also goes by the surnames Wendell and Faustyna, first went viral in February after claiming on Instagram to be the girl who went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007. She then went on to appear on Dr Phil, picked up a private investigator and ‘Persian medium’ – Dr Fia Johansson – moved to America amid death threats – had a DNA test – that proved she wasn’t Madeleine – before she fell out with Fia and returned to Poland where she is now raising money to get on with her life, along with her boyfriend, and cat, Monte. Although, she wants another DNA test and still thinks she might be Madeleine.

Dr Johansson told when Julia was in Poland, her phone was seized by police as part of a search and seizure, and that the 21-year-old had handed it over voluntarily.

According to reports, there is now a global probe into the case, with Orange County Sheriff’s Department contacting Polish police.

Department Spokesman Sergeant Mike Woodroof told “We are not going to make any comments about the case.

“Our investigation is taking a deep look into it and we’re going to let them do their investigative duties and then from that point let the judicial system take over – if it needs to.”

Since returning to Poland, Julia, has said she plans to take another DNA test and she does not believe the outcome of the first time. It suggested she was largely Polish, with some Lithuanian and Russian heritage.

When Julia first announced she might be Madeline, she posted evidence that included some freckles on her leg, an eye defect, and suggested there were missing pages from her medical records. Julia would be two years older than Madeleine who would turn 19 next month. She’s also claimed that she was abused by someone who looks like a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance and that she has no records from when she was a child.

Polish police have disputed her claims and her parents have said she is unwell and have repeatedly asked her to stop making the claims.

Last week Julia apologised to the McCanns in a 17-page statement, where she also said she might still be the missing girl.

She claimed she never said she was Madeleine – just that she believed she was. She apologised for creating an Instagram account with the nickname “I Am Madeleine McCann” and says she should have said, “Am I?”

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