The Internet has been rife with speculation over a young woman’s identity who has gone viral claiming that she believes she is Madeleine McCann. Gerry and Kate McCann’s eldest child was three when she went missing in Portugal back in 2007, and now 21-year-old Julia Wendall has requested a DNA test. Find out everything you need to know…
Who is Julia Wendell, and why does she believe she is Madeleine McCann?
Julia is based in Poland, and began to wonder about her identity after a comment from her grandmother. She has set up an Instagram account claiming to be the missing girl and has shared several snaps of herself from childhood, pointing out that she has the same notable speck in her eye and freckle on her leg as Madeleine.
WATCH: Details on the Madeline McCann investigation
Speaking about her suspicions, she said: "I don't remember being taken away. I mean, I don't remember almost my entire 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.
"My school teacher when I was very young said that I wasn’t there from the start but my parents insist I was. After all this confusion I began to do my own research I discovered what had happened to Madeleine McCann and started to piece together the similarities we shared. It has been so stressful trying to get people to listen to me."
She added: "First reason... I don’t remember most of my childhood but my earliest memory is very strong and It’s about holidays in a hot place where was a beach and White or very light-coloured buildings with 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 other children and they tried to touch small turtles. I don’t see my family in this memory."
MORE: Kate and Gerry McCann deny they received police letter telling them daughter Madeleine has died
MORE: Piers Morgan demands German authorities show more respect to Madeleine McCann's parents
Madeleine went missing in 2007
She has also said that she believes her age might be wrong, as she is 21 years old, while Madeleine would now be 19.
Have Gerry and Kate McCann responded to Julia Wendall?
Gerry and Kate have yet to give an official response to the claims, though Julia has claimed that she has spoken to someone from the family and that she has an upcoming opportunity to speak to Madeleine’s parents - and that a DNA test will be done "soon".
Julia is claiming to be the missing Madeleine McCann
Update on Julia Wendell's DNA request
Julia is now being represented by Dr Fia Johansso, who shared a message on her social media channel asking for understanding. She said: "Her mental health is not okay because of a lot of haters out there, a lot of comments and a lot of nastiness. She needs help… my team and me are investigating her family, her background, where she came from and which family she belongs to and other details. We understood that this the Madeleine case would be very sensitive."
The accompanying caption read: "To everyone interested in Julia’s search for answers, please understand we are in the middle of an investigation. This is a vulnerable woman seeking answers about her identity and her life. Regardless of your opinions, she is a human being who deserves respect. When everything is done in the investigation in a few weeks, you can learn more, but more now, please respect this woman’s privacy. Her background was challenging and messy. There is no need to spew hatred, judgment, and especially threats towards a person in need. This is unacceptable and needs to stop."
Like this story? Sign up to our What to Watch newsletter and get the heads-up on the shows and films everyone’s talking about.