ROME – Daniel Belling, his wife, and their two children set off on an 11-day Mediterranean cruise on Feb. 9.
Only three of them boarded a flight back to Dublin—or tried to.
The 45-year-old German native was stopped for questioning at Rome’s Ciampino Airport on Tuesday in connection with the apparent disappearance of his wife, Li Yinglei, and taken into custody.
He has not been charged, but a judge ruled Friday that he must remain in jail until prosecutors make a decision, reports the Irish Times.
The Irish Independent reports the family boarded the luxury Magnifica cruise ship in Civitavecchia, Italy, and records show Li reboarded the ship on the 10th after it docked in Genoa.
After that, there’s no record of the 36-year-old—nor any record of Belling alerting anyone to the fact that his wife had seemingly vanished.
The crew’s count of passengers exiting the ship at the cruise’s culmination returned one person less than expected, and Li, who the Telegraph reports went by the name Angie, was ultimately determined to be missing.
Luigi Conti, a lawyer for Belling, says Li stayed aboard the ship at a stop in Greece and was gone when the rest of her family returned.
Belling, he says, wasn’t alarmed because she has previously left family vacations.
He adds that Belling’s “behavior after disembarking was not that of a person who was trying to flee. He simply headed to Ciampino airport with his children [ages 4 and 6] to catch the flight that he had booked.”
A report in Italy’s La Stampa picked up by the media quotes a Genoa shopowner who recalled seeing the couple on the 10th, and describes Belling as handing his wife sneakers and saying “put these on instead of your sandals and shut up.”