Facial recognition software gives ‘90% verdict’ on Julia Wendell’s claim she is Madeleine McCann

A near-conclusive verdict of whether Polish woman Julia Wendell is Madeleine McCann has been reached after a Swiss company used facial recognition software. Julia, who made headlines with the claim that she Madeleine earlier this year, is awaiting results from three DNA samples and a genetic test after she made headlines for her claims.

Her @IamMadeleineMcCann Instagram account amassed over one million followers with people captivated by her supposed evidence. But Ava-X, a facial recognition firm in Switzerland, says their ‘face matching’ software found that Julia is extremely unlikely to be Madeleine.

You are reading: Facial recognition software gives ‘90% verdict’ on Julia Wendell’s claim she is Madeleine McCann

Shockingly, there has now been such a high number of media coverage around her story, that Google now displays a photo of Wendell instead of Madeleine when the latter’s name is searched reports the Daily Star. When searched, a headshot of Julia appears, alongside the words “Gerry McCann’s daughter”. Julia, who is believed to be 21, has the same rare eye condition as missing Madeleine – a coloboma in her right eye.

Facial recognition software has been used to assess Julia Wendell's claims that she is Madeleine McCann
Facial recognition software has been used to assess Julia Wendell’s claims that she is Madeleine McCann

Julia, who is believed to be 21, has the same rare eye condition as missing Madeleine – a coloboma in her right eye. The condition causes a misshapen pupil and occurs when part of the eye tissue is missing and leads to a misshapen pupil.

She also pointed to similar freckles on her leg and cheek, which appear to be in the same place as the toddler who went missing from Portugal in 2007.

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Dr Fia Johansson, a private investigator working on the case, travelled to Poland to look into Julia’s claims. She found that there were no hospital records in Wroclaw – the city she supposedly grew up in – relating to the first five years of her life.

Her findings further reaffirmed Julia’s suspicion that her age isn’t accurate, given that Madeleine would be 19 rather than 21. Dr Johansson said she is absolutely convinced Julia was trafficked into Poland as a child, whether she turns out to be Madeleine or not.

However, Ava-X has disputed the claims after studying photos of both girls in detail, reports blick.ch, using a ‘face matching’ program.

The technology, which was developed to help police identify offenders and reunite missing people with their families, failed to provide a match between Julia and Maddie. “It’s practically impossible for the young Pole to be Maddie,” Ava-X boss Christian Fehrlin told Blick.

A comparison of a childhood image of the Pole with one of her as an adult provided a match, but the result was negative when a photo of Madeleine was used.

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Asked about the chances of Julia being Maddie, Fehrlin said he was 90 per cent sure that the two were different people. Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann have not commented on Julia’s claims.

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