In the next two days, Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue visited the parties to the sexual assault cases. They were children when they were assaulted by Zheng Guohao. Now, they had just entered society and the things from the past lingered around like everlasting shadows. It was cruel to re-open their scars and wonder if they were suspects of the murders.
Even though Lin Dongxue was as gentle and sympathetic as possible, the interview process was still very sad and painful.
However, after verifying the testimony of these girls one by one, Chen Shi found that they were unlikely to be suspects. Of course, it was not ruled out that some of them may have forged their alibis, but when Chen Shi faced them, his intuition told him that he didn’t need to suspect them.
The murderer showed not only enthusiasm for revenge, but also a meticulous technique and no traces of a consciousness. Chen Shi felt that the murderer was not an ordinary person. He even had the idea that the murderer might not be a victim but was playing the role of a punisher. The executioner of scum.
On the morning of May 24th, Chen Shi went to the bureau. Lin Dongxue saw his face and asked, “Did you not sleep well?”
“Last night, I just rolled around back and forth. This is the most uncomfortable part of the process.”
“Is it so difficult to quit smoking?”
“I’m talking about the case. It’s in a frozen state with no leads.”
“Let's go. It's time for the meeting.”
At the case discussion meeting, everyone summarized the clues on hand. Peng Sijue’s autopsy report confirmed that the weapon used was one and the same. Attorney Bai died at 11:00PM on May 20th, just three hours after he spoke with the police.
The cup found in Attorney Bai's house was tested, only to contain soda. Both cups had the same findings. The killer wiped their fingerprints and lip prints while cleaning.
The footprints in Attorney Bai's house were still very vague, similar to the second set of footprints in Zheng Guohao's house.
In the surveillance video materials, nobody was found entering or leaving Zheng Guohao’s community in a group of two. Attorney Bai's community didn’t have surveillance footage at all. At about 10:45PM, something suddenly flew towards the camera and everything had been blank since.
The technicians repeatedly watched the videos and confirmed that it was done by a slingshot. The murderer broke the camera with a slingshot before entering the attorney’s area.
However, there was also good news. The object that broke the camera was still embedded in the camera. Although there were no fingerprints on it, there was some plant fragrance remaining. There are hundreds of perfumes that match this, but it was certain that it’s a violet’s fragrance.
Lin Qiupu printed out the photos of the people who were even slightly suspicious in the footage found in Zheng Guohao’s community and handed them around. The killer didn’t have superpowers and the security at the community was tight, so the killer should be among these people.
These photos were very blurry and they couldn’t see the face clearly even after technical processing. They could only roughly identify the physical features.
Chen Shi shook his head and said, “This is basically a boat quest for swords.”
“When you express your opinions, just express it. Don't express it using your subjective opinions.” Lin Qiupu reminded him.
“Is it not okay to use an idiom?” Chen Shi smiled. “The murderer is a very smart person. If I were the murderer, I would definitely change my clothes after leaving the crime scene. There is one thing you didn't notice...”
“Zheng Guohao took murderer A home. Where did they meet? In the community? It should really be outside. The murderer A came in Zheng Guohao's car.”
“Zheng Guohao's car did indeed come in at 12:00, but the windows were tinted, so we couldn't see the inside... Murderer B must have walked in later.”
Chen Shi threw the photos one by one on the table as if he was playing with a deck of cards. “These physical appearances and heights don’t look like the people we’re looking for. They’re not the killers. The investigation scope needs to be larger... I don't think murderer B came in later. They probably arrived first and hid in the community!”
“Then, when do you think they left?”
“Somewhere between when you asked for the surveillance video and Attorney Bai getting killed.”
“Does this count as detective reasoning?”
“No, it’s just thinking using a different angle.”
Lin Qiupu laughed. “Why do you think the killer is as smart as you? The premise of our investigation is that the killer is an ordinary person.”
“The killer is not an ordinary person. They are meticulous and fully prepared. They knew to use the slingshot to destroy the monitor. This shows that they have taken into account the problem of surveillance. Therefore, they must have ways to avoid the surveillance. This is not a revenge murder from a woman who has lost her rationale. It was a well-planned murder!”
“I understand, but why do you always say ‘if I were the murderer’.”
“This is my thinking habit. In most cases, I think from the murderer's point of view, not from the police's point of view. This is why I’m better than you.” Chen Shi looked around at everyone, wondering if his words would make him sound arrogant.
“I hope you’re right! Xiaodong, go to Zheng Guohao’s neighborhood again and get all the surveillance videos from that day.”
Chen Shi participated in watching the footage this time. A group of people stared at the video the whole day and finally locked onto a suspicious person. The person was dressed as a delivery person, wearing a hat. They were slender and walked like a woman.
After contacting the company to which the uniform belonged to, it was confirmed that during that day, no delivery person had been sent to this community.
The time that the person appeared was the same as what Chen Shi said. It was before murderer A was taken into the community in Zheng Guohao's car.
The delivery person seemed to have evaporated into thin air. There was only video of them entering, but not leaving. The police continued checking the footage after the crime and found that a suspicious vehicle left the neighborhood around 6:00PM.
The reason why it was suspicious was because every car entering and leaving the community had their plate number checked. The owner of this car claimed that his car was stolen the day before.
Murderers A and B were most likely sitting in that car. That is to say, after they committed the crime at 1:00PM, they didn’t leave in a hurry, but kept sitting in the car and waited until 6:00PM to drive away.
The police never expected that the killer would stay at the scene for so long before leaving.
Although Chen Shi was right, he wasn't happy about it. This method of avoiding monitoring gave him an inexplicable sense of familiarity. He suspected that the killer had previous experience or did some simulation exercises!
It was already evening, so Lin Qiupu bought dinner for everyone. He stuffed a box of chicken curry rice into Chen Shi's hands and said, “You were right about the time when the murderer entered and left. I can’t say I don’t have respect.”
Chen Shi smiled and opened the takeaway box. “I like black pepper beef on rice.”
“Don't take a foot when I give you an inch... Do you have any other opinions?”
“I think the murderer killed Attorney Bai completely to mislead the investigation. The only person they wanted to kill was Zheng Guohao.”
“Why would it not be the other way around? Maybe killing Attorney Bai is the real purpose. Zheng Guohao may have just been collateral damage. Doesn’t this fit your cunning and clever image of the killer more?”
Chen Shi shook his head. “Would a woman who has been sexually assaulted hate the perpetrator or the lawyer?”
“Of course, it’s-” Lin Qiupu understood, took the rice away from Chen Shi's hand, and replaced it with black pepper beef on rice. “Starting tomorrow, we’ll expand the scope of the investigation and check the injustices made by Zheng Guohao.”
Chen Shi nodded with gratitude, as if he saw a student of his was enlightened. “Maybe the case had never been tried in court. We should investigate the people around him again.”
1. While on a boat journey, they dropped a sword. He made a mark on the boat thinking that he will use that mark to find the sword again afterwards, but the boat moves while the sword stays in the same place. This is an idiom used to describe stubborn acts.
2. ”When you give an inch, they’ll take a foot” is used to express when people aren’t satisfied with small gains and are greedy for more.
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