Numerous newspapers are reporting that a woman cruising with her husband aboard the MSC Magnifica with their two young children (ages 4 and 6) on a Mediterranean cruise, starting in Civitavecchia, Italy, disappeared last week. The woman has been identified as Xing Lei Li. Her husband has been identified as Daniel Belling.
Italian police arrested the husband at Rome’s airport after his wife vanished from their cruise vacation and he didn’t tell anyone.
The ship had sailed to Genoa, Malta, Greece and Cyprus. Crew members noticed that the wife was missing when they did a head count at the end of the cruise. The cruise ship alerted police and informed them that the wife had been registered as a guest on the Magnifica’s passenger manifest on February 10th, following a port call in Genoa, the day after the cruise started, but subsequently disappeared.
A ship store employee said she remembered the couple and their two children in her store on the Costa ship, when the husband exhibited agitation and violence toward his wife.
Police seem to suspect that the husband may have thrown his wife overboard, although he denies this and claims that she is alive and may have returned to either their home in Ireland or returned to her native China.
Italian police are currently going through CCTV footage from the cruise ship. There is no indication that the MSC ship was equipped with a state-of-the-art automatic man overboard system which would have immediately alerted the bridge if a person went over the railing.
There have been numerous incident like this over the years, although cruise industry supporters claim, without factual support, that most disappearances involve suicides.
March 10, 2017 Update: – Italian police probe if cruise ship woman was murdered, stuffed in suitcase and thrown overboard.
April 24, 2018 Update: – Man accused of murdering his wife on cruise ship ‘released from jail’.
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Photo credit: Kyran O’Brien via Independent newspaper in Ireland.