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Crime News Missing Persons

DNA Test Results Confirm Polish Woman Isn't Madeleine McCann

A 21-year-old Polish named woman Julia Wendell believed she was potentially Madeleine McCann, a toddler who went missing in 2007 during a family vacation to Portugal. Recent DNA test results say otherwise. 

By Kate Zincone
Madeleine Mccann Pd

Earlier this year, attention was brought to a Polish woman who believed she was Madeleine McCann, the 3-year-old British girl who infamously disappeared in 2007 during a family vacation.

Contrary to her claims, the results from a recent DNA test showed that Julia Wendell, 21, is not McCann. The test indicated that Wendell is 100 percent Polish with familial ties to Lithuania and Russia, unlike McCann, who was British, according to People.com.

RELATED Main Suspect In Madeleine McCann's Disappearance Says He Was Having Sex When Child Vanished

“We finally know the reality,” wrote Dr. Fia Johansson, a spokesperson for Wendell. “Although it is impossible to tell for sure without the parent’s DNA results on either side, the test results speak to the origins of Julia’s root.”

McCann went missing while vacationing with her family in Praia de Luz, Portugal, a popular tourism territory in the Algarve region. The toddler and her then 2-year-old twin siblings were left alone in an unlocked rental while her parents dined at a restaurant 130 feet away.

Madeleine Mccann Pd

McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry, noticed she was missing when her mother went to check on the children. The parents were the initial suspects in the girl's disappearance but were later cleared by authorities in 2008.

In 2022, a German man named Christian Brückner became another person of interest in McCann’s disappearance, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting.

The incarcerated sex offender was declared an “arguido,” also referred to as a “named suspect,” by Portuguese officials. With a history of robbing hotels and apartments, investigators were initially confident that the convicted child predator was responsible for McCann’s disappearance.

“We have strong evidence that Christian B. killed Maddie McCann,” noted German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters in a 2021 episode of CBS' “48 Hours.” The segment also noted that, while intoxicated, Brückner allegedly confided in a friend that he had information about McCann’s disappearance.

Regardless of suspicions, Brückner hasn't been officially charged.

Wolters explained that in Germany, they “charge someone only if [they] are sure that he will be sentenced by the court. If there are doubts ... [they] don’t charge him.”

Wendell’s social media following quickly grew after she went public with her identity assumptions. She was forced to leave Poland for the United States to escape threats she began to receive, according to LBC UK.

After her DNA results returned, Johansson, who had been given power of attorney over Wendell, noted that she initially had a “gut feeling” that Wendell was not McCann.

McCann’s disappearance was referred to as “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history” by The Telegraph. Nearly 16 years after McCann vanished, her family continues their search. She would have turned 20 on May 12 of this year.