The family of Julia Wandelt, the woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann, who vanished in Praia da Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007, at the age of three, has released a statement saying they are “devastated at this current situation”.

The 21-year-old from Poland has created the @iammadeleinemcann Instagram account and invited the authorities to conduct a DNA test on her to compare it to McCann’s DNA. She claimed to have “evidence” that she is the girl who went missing. She said that she started wondering if she was McCann “a few months ago” after hearing “something” from her grandmother. She believes she too has a speck in her eye just like the missing girl.

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She also claimed Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents,  have asked her to take a DNA test. Wandelt has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on social media after her claims went viral. She has also claimed that large chunks of her childhood are missing from her memory and claims she was abused by a German pedophile.

“The family is taking no chances, they are willing to look at all leads. It is important they look at all of the factors, the girl does look similar. There’s no disputing that,” a source close to the McCanns reportedly said.

Wandelt’s family has released a statement on Facebook through the Polish missing persons’ organization Missing Years Ago. Contrary to what Julia is claiming, they believe that she “is our daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and step-niece”. She added that Julia has left her family home. They said they don’t understand why she is making the claims and had tried to help her with therapy and medicine but failed.

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The statement read: “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. We always tried to understand all situations that happened with Julia. Numerous therapies, medicines, psychologists, and psychiatrists – Julia had it all guaranteed. She wasn’t left alone. Threats to our address from Julia, her lies and manipulations, and activity on the internet. We’ve seen it all and we’ve tried to prevent it, to explain, we’ve asked her to stop.”

They added: “We always tried to help her get back on her feet. She refuses treatment and doesn’t take medicines regularly. She also did not take advantage of the treatment opportunity at a very good center in Poland, which agreed to accept her. Julia once wanted to be a singer, a model. She always wanted to be popular. What’s happening now she got one million followers. We’re afraid Julia will carry the inevitable. The internet won’t forget, and it’s obvious that Julia isn’t Maddie. We are devastated at this current situation.”