Volume 27: A Child’s Corpse on a Barren Mountain
In the middle of the night, Lin Qiupu received a text message. After glancing at it, he immediately sat up. This text message from Lin Dongxue was no less shocking than a thunderbolt in the midst of a sunny day. "Brother, I'm pregnant!"
Lin Qiupu stared at his phone for a long time before replying, "How long has it been?"
"It's been a long time and I never dared to tell you. It seems that I can't hide it any longer."
"I'll come find you now!"
Lin Qiupu immediately put on his clothes and sped to the house rented by Lin Dongxue. Lin Dongxue and Chen Shi were laughing and eating roasted corn, looking at him as if looking at a stranger.
Lin Qiupu's anger rose to his head. He pointed at Chen Shi and shouted, "How could you do this? You’re not responsible at all! And you kept it from me when something like this happened! Scum!”
Chen Shi, who was still eating the roasted corn, said slowly, "She consented."
Lin Dongxue agreed, "Yeah, I consented. It’s none of your business."
Lin Qiupu was so angry that his chest was undulating. He grabbed a piece of roasted corn in anger and ate it as he wept and wept. Then, he woke up and found himself biting the edge of his pillow.
The dream seemed too real. After he woke up, Lin Qiupu was still very emotional. He went on his phone and flipped through the text messages that Lin Dongxue had sent him in the past six months. "I know.", "None of your business.", "Understood.", "I’m heading back."
There were hardly any that were over five words. He sighed. It’s no wonder he would have such strange dreams.
At this time, it was 5:00AM on June 29th. Lin Qiupu didn’t feel sleepy anymore, so he got up to take a shower and exercised. It was exactly 5:58AM when he was done. He sat quietly on the sofa until 6:00AM on the dot, then he got up to make breakfast. It was his usual milk with porridge.
After eating, his phone rang. It was from the 110-emergency response center who told him that the remains of a child were found on a mountain. Lin Qiupu said, "Let me know the address. I’ll bring people over right away."
Three hours later, Lin Qiupu and several police officers arrived at a barren mountain on the outskirts of the city. The people who reported it were two young people and a mountain ranger who were camping. The three had been waiting for them anxiously. When they saw the police, they rushed down to greet them as if they had been relieved.
Lin Qiupu asked what was going on as he went up the mountain. The ranger said, "The corpse was found by the young guys. They saw a piece of cloth on the ground and dug at it because they were curious. They didn’t expect to dig out a skeleton. Then, they found me, and I reported it to the police... Officers, let me tell you something. The two guys seem to be homosexual. I was very scared having to wait with them for three hours."
Lin Qiupu rolled his eyes at him and ignored the last sentence.
Half-covered skeletal remains were revealed in a shallow pit. Judging by the skull, it would have been a child about ten years old. The forensics team immediately started digging. They questioned the people who reported the case. They didn’t seem suspicious, so they were let go.
According to the preliminary judgment of the remains, the child should have died about half a year ago. It was completely skeletonized, leaving disarticulated bones. The plants and roots growing between bone gaps and the molting of insects were carefully preserved as they were important for judging the time of death.
There was an open wound on the back of the corpse's skull. From the wound, it looked like it was a wound left by an axe. The police officers who were at the scene shook their heads. "I don't know how an animal could do such a thing. Doing this to the poor child."
Lin Qiupu said to them, "Don't stand there and look for other clues. Contact the bureau to see if there were any missing children over the past six months."
The police looked around for a long time, but they only found some rubbish left by mountain climbers, a broken rope, and a child’s clothes that were stained with blood. They took all of it back as evidence.
After staying in the wilderness for the whole morning, the police could finally take the complete set of bones and evidence back at noon. Lin Qiupu decided to investigate the case by himself. He retrieved the files of all missing children in the bureau and contacted the other branches.
The autopsy results from Peng Sijue showed that the deceased was an eleven-year-old boy. The time of death was about five to six months ago. His entire body had already gone through the whole skeletonization process, and only the bone marrow could be drilled and obtained for laboratory tests. They found carboxyhemoglobin from within the bone marrow, which accounted for over 60%. This is a typical death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Another small finding was that there was a hyperplasia in the tibia of the right leg of the deceased. There was a slight difference in length between the two tibias, which may have been caused by a previous fracture.
After reading this report, Lin Qiupu asked, "How could it be carbon monoxide poisoning?"
"I'm also a little unconvinced." Peng Sijue agreed. "But that’s the result of the tests."
"Then the wound to the back of the head..." Lin Qiupu muttered. "No, the most important thing right now is to determine the identity of the victim. The nature of this case is vile, and so was the means that were used. The chief has already told me that we have to solve this case no matter what.”
"Should we call Chen Shi?"
"Ahem, I just said that it was cruel, but I didn't say that the case was difficult to solve. I’ll find him if I’m really out of options!"
"Was it a kidnapping?"
"You think so?"
"DNA was found on the rope and child's clothes you brought back. We’re currently comparing them. If it belongs to one person, chances are high that it was a kidnapping!"
"Let's go. I'll go see the results with you!"
When they got to the forensics lab, a forensics officer said, "Captain Peng, two sets of DNA were found on the rope."
After waiting for nearly an hour, the result came out. One of the DNA sets on the rope belonged to the boy, and the DNA on the blood-stained clothes belonged to him as well.
Lin Qiupu said, "The other DNA set may be the killers. See if there’s a match in the database. I’ll look for the kidnapping cases during that period."
After making a round of phone calls, he finally found a case that matched the requirements from a branch office. The kidnapped boy was named Hao Jie. It happened six months ago. The kidnapper asked his parents for a huge sum of 10 million yuan. The parents were instructed by the police to negotiate with the kidnappers. After bargaining with the kidnappers, it was agreed that a ransom of 5 million would be delivered somewhere on December 4th. The kidnappers asked to place the ransom in a garbage bag, and the police closely controlled the surroundings.
However, the kidnapper didn’t show up. They waited until the afternoon when a suspicious man took the ransom. The police tailed the person all the way but didn’t find Hao Jie's traces, so they carried out the arrest. The other side was a homeless man who claimed to have found a large bag of money in the trash and took it away. He didn’t know it was a ransom. After investigation, the person didn’t have a prior criminal record. He had an alibi when the crime happened, so he had to be released.
Since then, Hao Jie was never found and the kidnappers never called again. Hao Jie's parents blamed the police for their rash actions killing their son and filed a lawsuit. Of course, the court case hadn’t gone ahead yet.
On the phone, the police officer said, "We are quite innocent in this matter. We’ve handled countless kidnapping cases. We can’t say that it’s a sure-thing, but at the very least, we wouldn’t make the mistake of leaking intel. Ever since the boy went missing, we’ve been checking whether that boy’s parents had any enemies for two months. In the end, we could only helplessly believe that the kidnappers have killed the victim. The other officers and I who were involved in the case have been punished with demerits and now we’re facing a lawsuit! We’re honestly wronged."
Lin Qiupu looked at his watch. Although it was already 6:00PM, the case had only just started having some leads. He said, "I want to come see you guys as well as visit the boy’s parents.”
"No, no, no, I have a headache just thinking about this case. I don't want to kill myself over this case. If you want to investigate it again, I can send the materials over, but I don't want to participate anymore."
"Sorry, I didn't tell you the situation. We found a boy's body on the mountains today. It’s suspected that it is Hao Jie who disappeared half a year ago."
The other party was silent for a moment before saying, "What? They really killed him? Then, you should come. I'll wait for you!"
1. It requires several weeks and up to several years for a body to fully decompose. The length it takes depends on temperature, insects, etc.
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