A British student named Harriet Brookes has claimed on social media she was in fact Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old girl who disappeared in May 2007 while on vacation in Portugal with her family.
Brookes' friend Elizabeth posted her messages on Twitter, where they went viral. Guys, I don't usually believe in conspiracy theories, but I honestly think I'm Madeleine McCann, the young woman wrote. I'm Madeleine McCann and I don't know what to do with myself, she added.
Harriet insisted she had the same features of the girl who disappeared 10 years ago in Praia da Luz: a brown spot around the iris and a mole on the right thigh. To support her statements, the young woman shared with her friends some photos, which she called Evidence A and Evidence B.
It would all ring a few alarms if it were not for the fact that Maddie would be 14 years old today, while Harriet is currently studying at the University of Leeds, which prompted reactions of social media users saying Harriet was just seeking attention.
Harriet then said it was all a joke which went misunderstood. I feel like a lot of people are taking it so seriously. I got a message from a girl who said she was going to skin me.
Meanwhile, the real search for Maddie continues: Scotland Yard has received 154,000 pounds sterling to continue with the investigation, at least until next May, while Kate and Gerry McCann, did not comment on Brookes' joke.
Kate and Gerry did issue an update on the investigation on their official Madeleine McCann Facebook page. Police are currently planning a trip to Portugal to interview associates of the man they suspect of having been involved in her abduction. After addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the McCanns ”couldn’t let the opportunity pass to say a very big ‘thank you’ once again to all our supporters.”
A suspect - Christian B - was identified by investigators last year and the case continues to progress.
Meanwhile, German Police are still following the lead that convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner, who is also suspected of attacking Irish waitress Hazel Behan, who has waived her right to anonymity, in Algarve three years before Madeleine's disappearance. The convicted paedophile, 45, is already in jail for a 2005 rape in Praia da Luz.
German prosecutors now hope to charge Brueckner with the rape of Hazel, who was 20 at the time, early next year.