Body found in Italy is unlikely to be missing Dublin-based woman

Asian woman’s remains were discovered in a suitcase in Rimini Harbour on Saturday

The MSC Magnifica. Xiang Lei Li went missing while travelling on the vessel last month.

The MSC Magnifica. Xiang Lei Li went missing while travelling on the vessel last month.

 

The body of an Asian woman, which was found in a suitcase in Rimini Harbour on Italy’s Adriatic coast on Saturday, is unlikely to be that of Dublin-based woman Xiang Lei Li, who went missing during a Mediterranean cruise last month.

Ms Li’s German husband, Daniel Belling, is currently being held in Rome’s Regina Coeli prison, on suspicion of having murdered his wife during the cruise.

Two male nurses discovered the woman’s body on Saturday while working on their boat in Rimini Harbour.

The two men hauled an object out of the water after it kept banging against their boat.

The object turned out to be a suitcase containing the body of an emaciated, naked Asian woman, wrapped up in plastic bags.

The woman is estimated to have been between 35- to 40-years-old.

Commentators initially speculated that the woman might be Xiang Lei Li. However, that now seems unlikely.

The woman, who was curled up in a foetal position, appears to be much shorter than Ms Li.

The paramedics who first examined the corpse on the harbour quay also told reporters that the corpse had probably been in the water for 10 days.

Ms Li went missing between February 10th and 20th, more than one month ago.

The paramedics also suggested that the emaciated state of the body was most likely due to a serious illness, rather than as a result of having been in the water for a long time.

MSC Magnifica

It also seems unlikely the body could have ended up so far off the route followed by the MSC Magnifica, on which Ms Li, Mr Belling and their two children travelled during the cruise.

The Magnifica’s route - which covers Civitavecchia, Genoa, Barcelona in Spain, Malta, and Cyprus - passes more than 400 nautical miles south of Rimini at the closest point.

More about the identity of the woman found in Rimini Harbour will be known following an autopsy on Monday morning.

The woman may have been one of the thousands of clandestine immigrants who attempt to reach Italy, en route to northern Europe, via some of the less-regulated Adriatic ports.