Apple computer consultant charged with murder after wife’s disappearance during cruise

Daniel Belling, a 45-year-old Apple computer consultant, was arrested for murder when he disembarked from a cruise ship and crew members noted that his wife, Li Yinglei, 36, was not among the passengers.

The couple began a 10-day Mediterranean cruise on February 10 with their two small children. At some point on the cruise, Li disappeared, but it wasn’t noticed until the crew did a head count when all the passengers departed on Monday.

Belling got off the cruise and headed to Ciampino airport, near Rome, with his children.  Maritime authorities contacted police, who then tracked his movements and arrested him at the airport where he was intending to return to his Irish home.

Belling was born in Germany, but lives in Dublin, Ireland.

The last time the wife was seen, according to the Irish Sun, was February 10 when the ship was off the coast of Genoa.  Her cruise card documented that she had gotten off the ship and gotten back on again after an excursion on land.  After that, there are no records of her leaving the ship and no one reported her missing.

Belling is being held in the Rome prison of Regina Coeli. He faced a preliminary investigative hearing Friday where a judge said that he should remain in custody because of his “suspect” behavior and because he presents a flight risk.

The ship the couple traveled on, The Magnifica, was stopped mid-cruise Wednesday evening to allow investigators to examine the couple’s suite room.

“My client is anxious to tell the judge what happened. He denies anything untoward happened,” said Belling’s lawyer, Luigi Conti.

The couple’s two children are being cared for my Italian social services.