Police believe Mario Farrugia, 62, was part of a drug and prostitution deal, local media reported on Sunday.
The man was found in the trunk of his own vehicle which was parked in a valley in Qormi after passers-by alerted police to the stench.
The 62-year-old victim from Pembroke had been reported missing to police days earlier and her body had been found in an advanced stage of decomposition.
According to Sunday Times of Malta, the man, who was stabbed more than 40 times, had either betrayed members of the criminal group or had a financial dispute with them. It is believed that he was part of a drug and prostitution trade.
Elliot Paul Busuttil, 38, was one of four suspects arrested by police. Busuttil was brought to trial and charged with the Good Friday murder. The other three suspects, including a Libyan known to the police, are free on bail.
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It has been established that Farrugia was stabbed in the chest, which resulted in his death. However, he also had lacerations on his hands, indicating that he had struggled with the assailant.
Citing sources, the local newspaper said Farrugia likely died a slow and excruciating death.
To date, the scene of the murder has not been established.
The Times of Malta reported that Farrugia, who was a taxi driver, may have acted as a drug dealer and prostitute for the prime suspect, who does not drive.
Busuttil was traced to the Libyan man’s residence using location data from his mobile phone. Investigators also found a drop of the victim’s blood in the home of the accused, who was allegedly using crack cocaine at the time of the murder. The geotagging also showed that Busuttil had gone to his mother’s house after leaving the house of Ramzi Abdulhafid Ib Abukem – where the murder is believed to have taken place.
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