• Sat. May 25th, 2024

Has Madeleine McCann been found?

ByHeather Parry

Mar 10, 2023
Red police tape cordoned off


The infamous case of Madeleine McCann, a young girl who went missing in 2007 on a family holiday in Portugal, has recently resurfaced on social media with Julia Faustyna’s claims that she is the child who tragically disappeared nearly sixteen years ago. Faustyna created the handle @Iammadeleinemcann and gained more than one million followers. Her claims are that she shares the same rare eye condition as Madeleine, is of a similar age as well as sharing similar experiences as children.

Despite thousands of followers believing in this, the police have refuted the claims and Julia’s parents have discredited her story, claiming her actions are the result of serious mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. I think that the issue here is not necessarily Julia herself, as I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to minimise her trauma and experiences. It is a possibility that she genuinely h the belief that she is Madeleine. However, I think the true problem is the sensationalization of tragic, ‘true crime’ stories. On one hand, it is vital for missing person cases to gain media attention in order to both raise money and increase the chances of discovery. Furthermore, it is significant to recognise that the case of Madeleine McCann is one which has had a large amount of funding and social media attention like no other and arguably, the attention given to this case has overshadowed the thousands of other young children who go missing every year. These families have not received the same emotional or financial support. That being said, there are a multitude of benefits to this case being highly publicised, although I do believe the tragedy of the situation has been lost in the social media frenzy.

TikTok is in my opinion one of the worst platforms for sensationalising sad cases. For example, many accounts have gained high popularity through interrogating cases like the Idaho murders in which four college students devastatingly lost their lives. My For You page at the time was full of users speculating who carried out the murders, consequently blaming the friends or roommates of the victims for the event. I believe in the social media haze of trying to almost solve these crimes and mysteries, it gets forgotten that these are real people and these situations and losses have and will continue to have an impact on and traumatise many people.

I think social media is an incredible tool to raise awareness, yet through it we can easily disconnect from the people actually involved in the case and both the reality and tragedy of the event. For example, with Julia’s claims and the publicity surrounding it, have we forgotten the fact that a young girl, who should be nineteen now, was abducted and has never been found? Her family, siblings and those that loved her will have to see all this speculation and either gain false hope or be further reminded of their pain and loss. Ultimately, I think within the blanket of social media we need to recognise that ‘true-crime’ involves real people and real tragedy and that what we say and portray online.

Police cordon, Hoxton Street, Hackney, London, UK” by gruntzooki is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.