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Longtime Madeleine McCann Investigator Says Julia Wendell's Claim Should NOT Be Discounted Until Probe Proves Otherwise

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Source: metropolitan police;@immadeleinemccann/instagram

Feb. 24 2023, Published 1:00 p.m. ET

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A Polish woman’s claim that she is Madeleine McCann should NOT be discounted until a vigorous investigation proves otherwise, a dogged private eye, who has spent more than a decade searching for the missing girl, exclusively told

Speaking out for the first time since Julia Wendell emerged as a potential break in the case, gumshoe Julian Peribanez said he’s willing to meet with the 21-year-old woman who created a media firestorm by claiming to be the toddler who vanished in 2007 while her family vacationed in Portugal.

Peribanez has been looking for Madeleine ever since Gerry and Kate McCann hired his boss, private investigator Francisco Marco to lead an exhaustive investigation.

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Peribanez said he spent two years working “24/7” in Portugal looking for Madeleine and as of today, he’s still on the hunt.

“I don’t disregard any new information when it comes to the Madeleine case – never!” said Peribanez, who now runs his own agency in Barcelona, Spain. “If there is a small chance that she could be Madeleine – even a 0.1 percent chance – it is worth investigating.”

“I’m based in Spain, and she is in Poland – I can help her in some way,” he added. “I’m leaving no stone unturned.”

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longtime madeleine mccann investigator says julia wendells claim should not be discounted until probe proves otherwise
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Madeleine had been left with her 2-year-old twin siblings in the unlocked rental in Praia da Luz while Kate and Gerry enjoyed a meal with friends at a nearby restaurant just 130 feet away. After checking on the kids every so often, Kate was shocked to discover that Madeleine was gone, noticing there was an open window.

Wendell recently surfaced on social media claiming to be Madeleine, saying she had freckles on her leg and cheek and a coloboma in her right eye in the same places as the missing toddler.

She also claimed her grandmother said "something" about the matter before and that she found a family portrait of a man who raped her as a child that looked exactly like the composite sketch of the suspected wanted for kidnapping Madeleine.

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Source: @immadeleinemccann/instagram
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"I have similar eyes, shape of face, ears, lips, I had the gap between the teeth," she wrote in a post on her account with the handle @iammadeleinemcann. "I need to know the truth. I need [a] DNA test and I need to talk with Madeleine's parents. Help me!"

Under the glare of the media spotlight, doubt was cast on Wendell’s claim – even by Marco, who said a biometric analysis ruled out the possibility she is Madeleine. A planned DNA test with the McCanns was abruptly canceled.

But Peribanez disagrees. He believes that summarily discounting Wendell’s claim without a full-throttle investigation is a disservice to Madeleine.

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Source: @immadeleinemccann/instagram
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“For me this the first time there is someone viable saying she is Madeliene,” he told “This girl she has the mark on the eye, she doesn’t know her background, or where she comes from, the family doesn’t want to tell the truth, and she really thinks she is Madeleine McCann!”

“You can never disregard a lead in an investigation.”



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