This fitness club made people swipe a membership card when they went in and out, so it was very easily known that Little Qin left at 7:04PM that night. The second audio was issued at 8:16, leaving an interval of more than an hour in between.
Chen Shi said, "This Little Qin isn’t punctual at all. An hour ago, she said she was almost there, but she was still on the road after an hour... Even if I walk from here to the restaurant in high heels, it wouldn’t take me an hour. She must have gone somewhere else."
Lin Dongxue said, "Would you like to look for the surveillance footage nearby?"
Chen Shi opened the map on his phone and carefully checked it. He said to Xu Xiaodong, "Xiaodong, you go to the winery to question them. We’ll look for surveillance here.”
Although the shops around here were installed with surveillance cameras, they were very scattered. Lin Dongxue and Chen Shi only found two of them after a very long time. They found that Little Qin was wandering around at 7:10, seeming to be calling for a taxi.
At this time, Xu Xiaodong called, "The owner of the winery said she’s been here. Come over!"
Chen Shi said excitedly, "This way is right."
"From the gym to the restaurant, there’s no railroads. However, from the winery to the restaurant, you’ll pass the railway halfway... At 8:16, a train will pass through that area."
"Do you think the murderer ambushed her in advance or followed her?"
"It depends on whether the murderer knows Little Qin's course of action that night. Let’s go to the winery to inquire first.”
The two drove to the winery. The winery's surveillance footage and boss confirmed that at about 7:00 PM on August 3rd, Little Qin came here by taxi and bought a bottle of red wine. The time she left was about 8:00 PM.
Chen Shi asked the boss, "Is she a regular customer here?"
"She does count as a regular, mainly because there’s been events recently. I asked Miss Qin if she would like to come over to participate."
Seeing the boss acting a little nervous, Chen Shi smiled and asked, "Are you a regular visitor?"
"What... I don't know what you mean!"
"Don't worry, we’re not here to check this. I hope you’ll tell us everything you know."
The boss admitted with embarrassment. "Well, I did know her from that place. When I was done, I left my contact details and said that she can come over if she likes wine. I give her a 30% discount every time she comes, so she visits often."
Lin Dongxue said, "No wonder you knew who she was when we mentioned her name. It seems that she does come often."
The boss smiled in embarrassment. "I'm doing business decently. It doesn’t mean anything special. I also have a wife and children.”
"Okay, okay. We really didn't come to investigate this..." Chen Shi said, "Yes, did you notice anything abnormal when she came that day? For example, was there a suspicious person or vehicle following her?"
"Uh, when we talked about wine, it seemed like a car was parked outside."
"Van? Or SUV? I remember it was white."
Chen Shi asked again, "Can you hear the sound of the train passing by here?"
"Yes, I can hear it at 8:00 every night."
Chen Shi walked out of the winery while looking at the map on his phone. He said, "From here to the restaurant, if you take a taxi at the door, the car has to do a big loop. But, if you pass through the alley next to it, you can save a lot of time… Let’s go!"
The three of them went into the side alley. Lin Dongxue suddenly pointed in a certain direction. There was a pile of wine bottle fragments under the garbage pile. Chen Shi put on his gloves and picked them up. He found the piece with the trademark and said, "Yes, it’s from that winery. This might be the bottle that Little Qin broke after meeting the murderer."
Lin Dongxue raised her head. "It's very open here. The train's noise should be heard quite clearly. Should we do an experiment?"
"We’ll have to wait until evening for the experiment. No rush."
Xu Xiaodong said, "But even if this is the second point, we can't determine where the murderer was hiding."
Chen Shi looked at his phone again. “The third audio message sent was at 8:20 PM, which was only 4 minutes after the second one. Think about what happened in these four minutes."
Lin Dongxue looked at the long alley and speculated, "Little Qin was caught by the murderer and forced into the car."
"At this time, her hands and feet weren’t controlled yet, so she could have sent out a message. Unfortunately, the murderer found it and the bang in the audio was the movement of the murderer breaking the phone."
"Yes, her friend said that all phone calls made showed that her phone had been turned off afterwards. The phone should have been broken… I think there must have been a lot of movement at the time. Would anyone living nearby have witnessed it?”
"Let’s investigate separately!"
So, the three of them split apart to find witnesses. An old lady who lived nearby told Lin Dongxue that two men jumped from the van and dragged a woman into the car that night.
"What did the two men look like?"
"I don't remember well."
"What color was the van?"
Lin Dongxue felt some goosebumps forming and asked again, "Were there words on the van?"
"No, I didn't see any," the old lady said.
An hour later, the three met up. Their inquiries this time bore an unexpected amount of gains. They integrated all the witness testimonies together to roughly understand what happened that night. Two men jumped out from the van and dragged Little Qin onto the van. One of the men desperately explained to the crowd that she was his wife and they were quarrelling. Then, he jumped into the car and left.
Xu Xiaodong lamented, "The whole process lasted for five minutes. A group of people saw but no one actually called the police at the time or afterwards. It’s so annoying."
Chen Shi said, "This is the bystander effect. I don’t think they’d be as stupid as to believe that story. It’s just because too many people were present, which diluted their sense of responsibility and morality."
Lin Dongxue said, "And no one remembered or photographed the license plate number. Witnesses described the characteristics of the suspects. One was fat and one was thin... It seems that Zhang Xiao does have an accomplice, but why did this associate only appear now? He hid away so well!"
"In short, we need to find this white van first!"
Chen Shi told Lin Qiupu of this discovery. At present, they could only find the van through the traffic surveillance. Near noon, the three went to a place nearby to solve the problem of lunch.
While eating, Xu Xiaodong looked at the calendar on the wall. "Hey, it’ll be the Qixi Festival in the next two days."
"Ah, it's Qixi so soon?" Lin Dongxue sighed with emotion.
Chen Shi suggested, "Do you have any plans for Qixi? Do you want to go out shopping? I hope the case will be resolved by then."
"I wish... I wish..." Lin Dongxue smiled bitterly, seeming to have some hidden meaning.
Chen Shi didn't ask about Qixi further. He ate and thought about things until he suddenly knocked on the table with a smile. "I vaguely know where Little Qin is."
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