Madeleine McCann's parents fail to attend vigil on 17th anniversary of her disappearance

Madeleine McCann's parents fail to attend vigil on 17th anniversary of her disappearance
Madeleine McCann: Christian Brueckner 'has no alibi' claims prosecutor
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 04/05/2024

- 13:14

A young woman claiming to be Madeleine instead bizarrely showed up at the service

The parents of Madeleine McCann did not show up to a prayer vigil for their daughter on the 17th anniversary of her disappearance.

Kate and Gerry McCann were instead on a “much needed” long weekend break at a secret location, according to a family member.

A message from the couple was read out by Rev. Robert Gladstone from the local parish church.

It read: “'Good evening, we are sorry that we cannot be with you tonight but we thank you for coming together and wanting to share your hope for Madeleine and other missing children.

Kate and Gerry McCann/Madeleine/Tributes to the missing toddler

Madeleine McCann's parents fail to attend vigil (not pictured) on 17th anniversary of her disappearance


“It's 17 years since Madeleine was taken from us. It's hard to even say that number without shaking our heads in disbelief.”

In words mirroring an earlier social media post made that day, they added: “Whilst we are fortunate in many ways and able to live a relatively normal and enjoyable life now, the 'living in limbo' is still very unsettling. And the absence still aches.”

Meanwhile, a young woman claiming to be Madeleine bizarrely showed up at the vigil.

The “Maddie Faker”, 22-year-old Julia Wandelt, travelled all the way from Poland to attend, hoping to speak to Kate and Gerry.


Madeleine McCannMadeleine McCann was last seen in 2007 in PortugalPA

Accompanied by a friend, Wandelt clutched a letter she wanted to give to the couple, later stating that she was “disappointed” that they were a no-show.

Speaking after the 45-minute service, she said: “I am Madeleine McCann. I have never stopped believing it and I have come here because I want to ask Kate and Gerry to do a DNA test. They haven’t done one to prove I am not their daughter.”

She added: “No I am not crazy. I am not a liar.”

Church representatives and members of the family later became aware of her presence.

Kate’s uncle, Brian Kennedy, was one of around 50 people packed into the Baptist Church in their home village of Rothley, Leicestershire.

“Each time we hope this annual occasion will be the last. The search for Madeleine continues,” he said at the service, whilst candles were lit up in her memory.

Christian BruecknerChristian Brueckner is suspected of abducting the missing British toddler Madeleine McCannGetty

Madeleine vanished whilst on holiday with her parents in Parai da Luz, Portugal, after the McCanns left the three-year-old alone with her two younger siblings whilst they went out for dinner with friends.

May 12 also marks her 21st birthday.

Earlier this week, Home Office Minister Lord Sharpe of Epsom announced a fresh cash injection of up to £192,000 into the investigation.

He also revealed that the Metropolitan Police had spent £13.2million investigating the high-profile case.

Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect in the disappearance of the three-year-old, is currently facing trial in the German city of Braunschweig for offences unrelated to Madeleine.

The convicted sex offender is on trial for the rape of a woman in her 70s in her home in the Algarve and the rape and sexual assault of a teenage girl.

Brueckner has consistently denied any involvement in Maddie's disappearance.

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