Missing SVPR patient Karmenu Fino is body found in Birzebbugia

A heavily decomposed body was found in Birżebbuġa on 14 July • Fino was reported missing on 28 June after leaving the elderly home in the middle of the night

Fino was caught by CCTV cameras walking out through the main gate of St Vincent de Paul (Photo: Police)
Fino was caught by CCTV cameras walking out through the main gate of St Vincent de Paul (Photo: Police)

The corpse that was found in Birżebbuġa more than a month ago belonged to the missing 83-year-old Karmenu Fino.

A heavily decomposed corpse of a man was found in Birżebbuġa, in the vicinity of a wedding hall, opposite Għar Dalam on 14 July.

In a statement on Thursday, police said that the DNA results on the body confirmed that the body belonged to Fino, who was reported missing on 28 June, after leaving St Vincent De Paul (SVPR) home in the middle of the night.

It said that forensic analysis through DNA tests were required, as the body was found in a state of heavy decomposition and could not be immediately identified.

The autopsy revealed that no third parties were involved and that foul play was being ruled out. Relatives of Fino had said that he suffered from dementia and could not speak.

Fino was discovered to be missing at 8am on 28 June after staff working the day shift went to bathe Fino but could not find him. They informed the management, who then contacted the night shift workers. 

These workers said that they saw Fino in his ward at 5:45am. However, a patient who shared the same ward as Fino said that the man was not in his ward at 3am. This was corroborated by CCTV footage which showed Fino walking by Lidl in Luqa at 3:17am.

Fino's disappearance prompted the Active Ageing Minister Jo Etienne Abela to order an internal investigation into the case. The inquiry found significant shortcomings on the part of staff working the night shift as well as the security team assigned on the night of the disappearance.

Four security officers, two carers and a nurse at the St Vincent de Paul Residence were suspended on half pay following Fino's disappearance.

The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) claimed that the suspended nurse was made a “scapegoat” for system failures that led to the incident and issued a number of directives to its members, including that no new partients are to be admitted to SVPR or any other state elderly homes.