Woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann says first memories of 'buildings and beach' similar to where girl was last seen

30 March 2023, 09:33 | Updated: 6 April 2023, 12:19

Julia Wendell on Dr Phil (l). A beach like her first childhood memory (top r). Bottom right Julia as a child and Madeleine McCann
Julia Wendell on Dr Phil (l). A beach like her first childhood memory (top r). Bottom right Julia as a child and Madeleine McCann. Picture: social media/Dr Phil/alamy

By StephenRigley

A woman who claims to Madeleine McCann has said her first childhood memories are "eerily similar" to the place where the British toddler vanished 16 years ago.

Julia Wendell, 21, told US tv that she has just one memory from her early years which is being near a beach and the ocean.

Appearing on Dr Phil to discuss her claims that she is the missing girl, she said: "I have some single memories since eight, nine years old.

"And before eight, I have only this one memory with beach and water, like sea or ocean, and there were turtles and children trying to catch the turtles and take them in their hands.

"And I remembered light-coloured buildings, like white or very light colours, sunlight on this building."

Julia Wendell on Dr Phil
Julia Wendell on Dr Phil. Picture: social media/Dr Phil
Dr Fia Johansson and Julia Wendell
Dr Fia Johansson and Julia Wendell. Picture: social media

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Private investigator and medium Dr Fia Johansson, who is helping Julia claims her memory has a resemblance to the environment in which Madeleine disappeared.

She told the show "When I put it all together, I thought, 'Hmm, something makes sense and I need to get into why she remembers just that things'."

Speaking about the buildings Julia remembers, she added: "So that could be one of those memories too that maybe she had at the age of three.

"That could possibly be the same building that Madeleine vanished 2007."

During the show Julia denied her parents' claims that she stole her birth certificate and childhood photos to hide the fact that she is not Madeleine.

In a written statement aired during the show, Julia's parents said it was “obvious that Julia isn’t Maddie.”

It added: “For us as a family it is obvious Julia is our daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and step niece. We have memories, we have pictures.

“Julia also has these photos because she took them from the family home with the birth certificate, as well as numerous hospital discharges.”

Julia, who first made the claim last month on social media wracking up one million followers on her now deactivated Instagram account, has previously said she has never seen a photo of her mother pregnant and that she has very few childhood memories.

She told Dr Phil her mother would always change the subject whenever she questioned her about her ancestry or birth and the first six pages of her health book - which is given to every child in Poland - was blank.

“I believe I am Madeleine McCann,” she said.

Julia Wendell as a youngster
Julia Wendell as a youngster. Picture: social media
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann. Picture: social media

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Since airing her claims on social media earlier this year, Julia has tried to prove her case by pointing out physical similarities between herself and Madeleine — including a brown smudge that appears on each girl’s right eye.

But facial recognition software said it was '90% certain' that Julia was not Madeleine.

Julia is currently awaiting DNA results to confirm her true identity.

Asked what she would do if the results prove she isn’t Madeleine, Julia said she wouldn’t want any contact with her Polish family.“If she is my mother, I don’t want to have contact with her that’s all, but I believe she isn’t my mother,” she said.

Madeleine vanished on a family holiday to Portugal in 2007 aged three.