By VERONICA LORRAINE

in Praia da Luz

Published: 14 Dec 2007

Francisco Marco Fernández
Francisco Marco Fernández

THE boss of the Spanish detective agency hired by the McCanns has bizarrely boasted Maddie could be “home by Christmas”.

Metodo 3 chief Francisco Marco insisted yesterday for the THIRD time that missing Maddie was in their sights.

But a source close to the Find Madeleine Fund admitted they had “increasing concerns” about the agency.

Maddie, four, went missing from Portugal’s Praia da Luz on May 3.

By October parents Kate and Gerry had lost confidence in cops and enlisted Metodo 3.

Within days Marco claimed Maddie had been smuggled to Morocco, even buying dolls for her, but it was a false lead.

Then last month he told BBC1’s Panorama he was “very close” to finding her.

Now in a new interview he has said: “We know who kidnapped her, but not where she is. God willing she’ll be back with her parents before Christmas.”

Police sources have already dismissed Metodo 3 as “small fry” and “irrelevant”.

And the Find Madeleine source said: “The agency seem too vocal. If they’re genuinely close to finding Maddie, surely they wouldn’t announce it to the world first.”

However the McCanns’ spokesman insisted they were “confident” in Metodo 3.

Meanwhile it emerged cops secretly searched Brit Robert Murat’s hire car three days after Maddie vanished – eight days before he became an official suspect – but found nothing.

And it was reported the McCanns’ lawyers will claim digital photos taken by cops are irrelevant as they can be easily manipulated.

Email Veronica Lorraine here: v.lorraine@the-sun.co.uk

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