ROME – Police are investigating the discovery of an Asian woman’s body in a suitcase at the Italian port town of Rimini.
The woman likely died of malnutrition and showed signs of extended physical suffering, police told Italian media.
Previous reports had linked the body to a missing Dublin-based woman, who has not been seen since 10 February when she boarded a ship to Genoa.
However, investigators have now ruled out any link between the body and the existing investigation.
Chinese-born Xing Lei Li is still unaccounted for, and her husband Daniel Belling was arrested in Rome attempting to board a flight to Dublin last month.
Italy’s Ansa news agency said police are now “certain” the body is not that of Ms Li.
Her height does not match that of the corpse, and the cruise ship she was on did not stop anywhere near the location of the body.
The suitcase was found in the port of Rimini, northeast of Rome and hundreds of miles away from where Italian police had suggested Ms Li could have been murdered and thrown overboard.
The man who discovered the suitcase floating in the marina at the port told local TV he had initially thought the case was particularly heavy because it was waterlogged.
He said he only discovered a body wrapped in a black plastic bag once he opened the case on the dock.
Police found no evidence of violent death during an autopsy and believe she may have been “nearly dead when she was put into the suitcase”, Ansa reported.
“She looked as if she’d come out of a labour camp,” the news agency quoted its sources as saying.
Police said they were examining all possibilities in the new case.