Two Marsaxlokk fishermen are expected to be charged in court today with killing Albert Brian Rosso, who has been missing since October 10.

Mr Rosso, known as Brian, left home and reported for work at the San Lucjan aquaculture centre on Monday, October 10. That same morning, he went to meet his business partner and disappeared without a trace. Mt Rosso disappeared together with his van, an Isuzu Elf pick-up, but this was found at Ghaxaq last Monday. The van is reported to have been there since the day Mr Rosso went missing.

Mr Rosso was married and had a 16-year-old daughter. Apart from working at the aquaculture centre, he also had two fishing vessels.

The two men who are expected to be charged today are a Maltese aged 37 and an Italian, aged 31, who has been living in Malta for some time. Both are understood to have worked very closely with the victim in the past.

As soon as Mr Rosso disappeared, the police started treating the case as if it were a murder, and Inspector Christopher Pullicino, who leads the CID Homicide Squad, was assigned to assist Inspector Louise Calleja, who is stationed at the vice squad and who was involved in investigations of missing persons in the past. Both inspectors worked under the direct supervision of Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar and the Police Commissioner John Rizzo.

Sources said an attempt to derail police investigations was initially made as the people who allegedly killed Mr Rosso knew that he was being threatened by some Italians and tried to shift the blame on to unknown Sicilians. But following further investigations, the two men are understood to have given the police important information about the case.

Investigations took a twist late last week and, on Thursday and Friday, the police conducted searches in several areas around Marsaxlokk. Fresh developments about the contacts the victim had led the police to establish what happened in the moments before he was reported missing.

It is understood that Mr Rosso was abducted, killed and shortly after dumped at sea. The police are understood to be in possession of the murder weapon and also have forensic evidence to back up their case.

The arraignment will be the second one to go to court without the victim's body being found. The first involved Ronald Vella, a Gozitan who killed his wife Jane Mary by throwing her off Ras il-Kelb, at Ta' Cenc cliffs, on December 5, 1999. He was found guilty and imprisoned for 30 years in January 2003, but the body was never found.

Sources close to the Civil Protection Department said the department was prepared to send several teams of divers to scour the area where it is suspected that Mr Rosso's body lies, as soon as the wind calms down. Heavy seas prevented the search from being carried out yesterday, and the search had to be called off soon after it started because of high seas.

The depth of the waters, where the body is believed to have been dumped, is over 25 metres.

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