A couple of distinctive physical featured fueled a British college student’s claims that she is actually a girl reported missing more than a decade ago in Portugal.
“I’m Madeleine McCann and I don’t know what to do with myself,” Harriet Brookes wrote in one of several messages to friends.
The exchange was shared on social media, where it soon gained widespread attention and sparked criticism of the University of Manchester student.
As The Scottish Sun reported, she called distinctive marks in her eye and on her leg “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit B” in making her case, claiming the both match photos of the missing girl.
“I don’t usually believe in conspiracy theories but honestly I think I’m Madeleine McCann,” she wrote.
— Social Network Today (@TodaysNetOffers) November 25, 2017
The group message included some indicators the conversation was meant as a joke. When it was shared on Twitter, however, many who saw it treated the claim very seriously, the U.K. Metro reported.
McCann was just 3 years old when she vanished during a family vacation in Portugal more than a decade ago. A number of commenters pointed out that would make McCann several years younger than Brookes.
According to the Daily Mail, others apparently wanted to believe her, including one individual who asked if she was “just joking messing with [people’s] head.”
The student reiterated her intentions in the wake of the social media controversy. She reportedly claimed her joke simply eluded those criticizing her.
British authorities continue to look into McCann’s disappearance, with Scotland Yard leading the investigation since 2011.
[Featured image: Madeleine McCann/Harriet Brookes –AP (Sang Tan)/Facebook]