On June 13th, Chen Shi was called to the bureau early in the morning. Before the morning meeting began, Lin Dongxue threw him a stack of information. After reading through it, Chen Shi asked, "What did I miss in the past two days? How did one victim become three?"
"The victim, Wang Dong, was discovered by you. The second victim, Li Xing, was originally from a case that the third team handled. The techniques used were very similar. The third team has been investigating the case for two weeks. They couldn’t find any possible suspects, so the case was taken over by Captain Lin. The third victim, Song Jicheng, was discovered when we looked into the missing persons reports from a local police station. We went to his house and found him in the refrigerator... We’ve now officially filed these cases as serial murders."
"The method is indeed really similar. It feels like the murderer is like a man who is buying clothes. She walks in to kill, cleans up, and then leaves immediately after without any personal emotions invested into the process."
"And there were hawthorn berries in all the corpses' mouths. I don't know why the killer put such sour things inside." The thought of the taste of hawthorn berries made Lin Dongxue's teeth ache.
Shortly after, Lin Qiupu arrived and everyone began to discuss the serial murders.
The murderer's technique and weapon was the same. The motive for hiding the corpse in the refrigerator was believed to be for extending the time before discovery. This also led to difficulty in judging the time of death. The liver temperature could no longer be measured, and could only be roughly estimated. It was speculated that Wang Dong was killed about one month ago, Song Jicheng, about three weeks ago, and finally Li Xing, about two weeks ago.
All three died over a week ago, so the housing districts’ surveillance footages have been written over. The residents and property managers at the housing districts were questioned, but they didn’t have any impressions of what had happened so long ago.
As for the occupations of the victims, Wang Dong was a mid-level manager in a company. Song Jicheng was an unemployed person who had lots of free time. Li Xing was a forum blogger. Except for their being single bachelors who lived alone, they had nothing in common and lived far away from one another.
On the 11th, Peng Sijue had re-examined the scene where Wang Dong was killed. He found vomit in the toilet, but the killer had poured a lot of disinfectant inside, so they were unable to extract the DNA.
Footprints and fingerprints showed traces of being disguised. Judging from the footprints, the killer was a woman with a height of 167cm and weighing about 50kg.
It is worth mentioning that Song Jicheng, the largest of the three victims, had tried to fight the killer off before his death. Skin fragments, paraffin oil, and colorants of the killer were left behind in his fingernails. It was suspected to be a lip balm or lipstick. There might be injuries on the killer’s lips.
In addition, all three victims had downloaded a voice chat social media app. The killer seems to use the app, but the account that she used was changed after each murder. Social media apps are designed to attract user traffic, so they often just require a simple registration process.
Almost everyone in the task force downloaded the app to see if they could bait the killer.
Chen Shi raised his hand and asked, "I mentioned that day that the killer's eyesight isn’t that great. Have you guys investigated this clue yet?"
Lin Qiupu said, "The people in the housing districts didn’t have any impressions of someone that fits that characteristic. I asked people to visit the ophthalmology departments of major hospitals. There are about thirty people who fit the characteristic. The main task today is to check this out!"
"I have a question. Do the victims have cars?"
"Apart from Song Jicheng, the other two do."
"Do you have any insights on this?"
"From the murderer's actions, she is a behavior-oriented killer who only cares about achieving the goal but does not care about the process. Female serial killers are very rare. Generally, they will lock onto special types of victims. But the killer this time doesn’t seem to be a ‘picky eater’. The types who do it for sexual desire, the adrenaline rush, and power can all be excluded. The only type left is the one who does it for profit. I noticed that her killing cycle is very regular and is about one week long on average. For a person with a visual impairment, killing someone would be really difficult. She must be able to gain tremendous benefits from the victims in order to repeatedly take on such risks."
"Profit? No valuables were lost at the scene. I don't see any profit, unless it's killing for pleasure or something." Lin Qiupu noted, "You forgot to mention another type - The utilitarian type. I think she only wanted to kill one of these three people. The other two were just collateral victims muddling the investigation.”
"That's just your opinion. I think figuring out the motive for the crimes is the most critical part of this case. When I recreate the crimes in my mind, I have been confused about the motive of the killer all along."
Lin Qiupu said, "If the killer has a cooling-off period of one week, I will negotiate with the chief for a little more time to solve the case. Let’s start the investigation today at the hospital!”
Chen Shi glanced at the information again, thinking that the last victim was killed about seven days ago. It is likely that another victim will appear soon. But in any case, they must investigate first!
The police officers involved in the investigation discussed it with one another. Chen Shi picked a blind person massage shop in a suburb within the city and drove there with Lin Dongxue. At about nine o'clock, the two arrived. The owner, who was smoking next to the shop, heard their footsteps and asked, "Is it massage for two?"
Chen Shi said, "Master, your sense of hearing is very good."
The owner smiled. "I also know that it's a man and a woman and that this is the first time you’ve come here. Your footsteps are unfamiliar to me."
Lin Dongxue pulled out her ID, "You can touch this."
The owner touched the gold lettering on the ID and asked, "Officer? What brings you here?"
"We’re investigating a case and suspect that the murderer may have vision problems. Master, can you call out all the employees here? I want to take a look at them."
"It's strange to have a blind person commit a crime. Are you sure you're not mistaken?"
"You should have heard the news about the blind person committing burglary, right?"
"I have. Are you also investigating a theft? The people who work here all have clean hands and feet. I assure you that they won’t do stuff like that."
"It's just a preliminary investigation and I don't doubt what you’re saying."
The owner called out the few people working there for them to have a look. Two of them were women. Chen Shi saw that their height and weight were far from what they had deduced and there were no injuries on their lips, so they didn't need to question any further.
When they were ready to leave, the owner asked, "Since you’re here, would you like a massage?"
Chen Shi looked questioningly at Lin Dongxue and Lin Dongxue whispered, "We still need to investigate the case!"
"It won't take much time. You don’t look very well lately. Relax a bit!"
Lin Dongxue reluctantly agreed. The two lay on the massage beds and received massages. The owner's technique was very skilled, making Chen Shi very comfortable. Chen Shi had been observing the blind people in the shop the whole time. They walked around as if completely free of visual impairment.
Chen Shi asked, "Is it easy for all of you to go out normally?"
The owner laughed, "I'm sure it's not as convenient as for sighted people. I've been hit by a car several times, but it's not a problem once you get used to going out alone. Nowadays, it's more convenient since we have GPS on our mobiles... You might not understand. The most difficult thing for blind people to do is to cross roads."
"I can appreciate that!"
“Officer, since you’re here. I have a suggestion I’d like to make... You should monitor the occupation of paths meant for blind people. It’s really inconvenient for us when we go out.”
1. Hawthorn berries taste tart and a bit tangy. It’s used in a variety of foods like soups and desserts. They can be made into haw flakes and other lollies that are quite popular with children. Haw flakes, unlike the berries themselves, are mainly just sweet though. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ZW0tREPoL._SL1500_.jpg
2. An expression to describe honest people who don’t have sticky fingers
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