A Polish woman who used social media to help determine whether she might be missing Madeleine McCann, a British toddler who disappeared from a family vacation in Portugal in 2007, is now apologizing to the McCann family after getting DNA test results back.
The Polish woman, Julia Faustyna, who also goes by Julia Wandelt, had been claiming for weeks on Instagram and TikTok that she may be McCann, but DNA test results apparently showed that she is not British at all, according to her former spokesperson, social media star Dr. Fia Johansson.
“I don’t remember most of my memories but I can remember some things and I never said that I am Madeleine McCann,” Faustyna, who made accounts called @iammadeleinemccann on Instagram and TikTok, said in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday. “I used this sentence to create a nick[name] for my old instagram account, it was my mistake and I know it and I apologize for that because I should use words, ‘Am I Madeleine McCann,’ not ‘I am.’”
She continued: “So it was my fault and It wasn’t my intention to bring sadness or another negative emotional [sic] to anyone, especially to McCann’s family. My main purpose was always to find out who I am and what exactly happened in my very hurtful past.”
Faustyna detailed a troubled past and blurry memory in the Facebook post and said she started looking into the McCann case after seeing a photo of the missing girl online. She said she has a spot in her right eye and a beauty mark on her cheek that resemble McCann’s. She also claimed that details of her childhood do not add up, leading her to believe that she was abducted as a toddler.
The Polish woman in her 20s amassed tens of thousands of followers – many of whom were critical of her claims – on her social media pages. She and Johansson, a psychic social media personality who offered to represent Faustyna as she made global headlines, even appeared on Dr. Phil together last month. Johansson broke the news about Faustyna’s DNA results in an April 4 statement.
“The test results revealed that she is 100% of Polish heart, with negligible influence from Lithuania and Russia,” Johansson said in a Tuesday statement posted to Instagram. “The DNA test results did not show any connection to British or even German roots.”
“She truly believed what she was saying, and with so many questions about her childhood it is easy to understand where she was coming from,” Johansson continued.
Faustyna is now accepting donations through a GoGetFunding page.
Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were on vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal, along with their three young children when Madeleine was taken from her bed on May 3, 2007. The family was staying in a ground-floor apartment.
In 2020, German police named convicted child abuser and drug dealer Christian Brueckner, 45, as a suspect in the 3-year-old’s disappearance, though Brueckner, a German citizen, continues to deny involvement in the case.
McCann’s family is accepting donations for the search for Madeleine through their website, findmadeleine.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.