Arriving at the forensics department, Peng Sijue told Chen Shi, "There were only two people's fingerprints on the Zhonghua cigarettes' packaging. Teacher Liu and Teacher Yan's fingerprint distributions were like this..." Peng Sijue showed him a simulated picture.
As a former smoker, Chen Shi saw that they were fingerprints left behind from dismantling the cigarette carton. He said, "Teacher Yan stole the cigarettes. Were his fingerprints on the trophy?"
"There are no fingerprints on the trophy. It had been wiped clean, including the blood stains. If luminol wasn’t used, you wouldn’t have been able to discover the blood stains."
Chen Shi picked up the trophy on the table. Based on its structure, you’d have to hold it up with both hands or grasp the top with one hand. Chen Shi said, "If this thing had spattered blood left on the bottom, how had it been used?"
"It would have been picked up with one hand and swung hard to strike the target!"
"Where would I strike?"
"According to common sense, such a blunt and heavy object will only have so much blood on it if it had struck the head. Blood vessels are the densest under the scalp. If you had used it to hit the body, it may have only caused bruising and not bleeding on the spot."
"The office was most likely the scene of the murder. Someone went to deal with it afterwards... Teacher Yan quit smoking many years ago. Why did he suddenly steal his colleague's cigarettes to smoke? And the ash just happened to fall on the blood stains as well.”
"That doesn’t count as evidence. The other party can come up with a hundred explanations for it as long as there’s no body!"
Chen Shi's expression dimmed. He mumbled, "There must be a skilled master that helped, could it be him..." Then he walked away in a daze. A minute later, Peng Sijue realized that he had actually taken the trophy away.
Chen Shi’s mind was full of thoughts. When he had driven home, he discovered two things. First, he had forgotten to pick up Tao Yueyue. Second, there was a trophy on the passenger seat.
This is what happens once he’s deep in thought. He slapped his forehead, pulled out a cigarette from his bag, put it in his mouth and hesitated repeatedly. However, he didn’t light the cigarette and just started the car to pick up Tao Yueyue.
Arriving at the bureau the next morning, Chen Shi was a little dispirited. Lin Dongxue sniffed at him and asked, "Are you hungover?"
"No... I did drink some alcohol last night."
"I thought you always had a poker face, but you’re depressed just by this small matter?"
"Drinking was because I was too tired yesterday, not because of this." Chen Shi defended himself. "Is there any progress?"
"I was just about to tell you that we received an anonymous police tip-off call last night, and the other party had deliberately lowered their voice to provide a clue, saying that on September 30th, Mr. Yan and Ms. Lin had been heard arguing. The school principal was mentioned during the quarrel, along with words like "despicable". Teacher Yan's car only left the school at 8:00 in the evening, and Teacher Lin was not in the car."
"Eh, an anonymous police tip-off? Maybe I was the one who called."
"I mean, this tip-off can't be regarded as evidence. The other party's identity is unclear. In court, the lawyer can say that it was faked by us."
"But no matter what you said, it did give me a clue."
"Actually, I had already suspected this Teacher Yan last night. Fingerprints, blood stains, cigarette ash. Something must have happened between him and Teacher Lin on the evening of September 30th."
"Should we go and look for him now?"
"It's a little early! It's a little early..." Chen Shi considered, "We'll go to Teacher Lin's house."
Teacher Lin was definitely the daughter of the deputy director. Her family had bought her an apartment near the school. The two went there accompanied by her father. The house was exquisitely decorated. There was a modular sofa as soon as you walked in. The living room was clean and tidy. There was also a piano by the window.
Teacher Lin’s father said, "Xiaoxiao has loved music ever since she was a child. When she was a child, she won an award in the city's children's music competition. Haii, if we could have supported her dream more, that would have been good. Then today’s incident wouldn’t have happened.”
"‘Today’s incident’, you mean..." Lin Dongxue inquired.
"Isn't there a rumor that she had ran away with the ex-boyfriend who plays rock music? Didn't you investigate this?"
"We are also following up with this clue. That guy is on tour right now and isn’t in the local area, but Lin Xiaoxiao's ID card information shows that she hasn't bought any train tickets or air tickets during this period. Does she have a car?"
"She doesn’t know how to drive, and the school is close by, so she doesn't need to."
Chen Shi asked, "Who started this rumor?"
"It was circulating in school."
"What did they specifically say?"
"Someone said that she was dissatisfied with the family arranging everything for her. After enduring things for too long, she suddenly left without saying goodbye." Teacher Lin’s father sighed and shook his head again.
"I want to ask one more thing. From your perspective as a father, does she have a bad relationship with her current boyfriend, Yan Ke?"
"It's pretty good! Although the boy's family background is average, he’s really striving hard to improve himself. He’s been to the house for a few meals. My wife likes him very much. I feel relieved about entrusting my daughter to him. The last time he came, he bought a lot of health products specially for my wife’s illness."
"Your wife's illness?"
"She has high blood pressure and myocardial infarction. Haii, there’s nothing you can do when you get old. She just completed stent surgery a while ago and has been hospitalized since."
"But you said previously that your family of three were preparing to have dinner together on October 1st."
"Yes, for National Day. It’s rare that I have free time, so I went to the market early in the morning to buy some groceries and cooked them when I got back. Her mother also came home from the hospital after asking for leave to attend the gathering. But we didn't expect her to leave after saying that she had some business to attend to..."
"You were home alone on September 30th?”
The main purpose for coming that day was to collect Teacher Lin’s fingerprints and DNA. Chen Shi paid special attention to the shoe rack, entrance, and toilet. There shouldn’t have been any outsiders that came here. Lin Dongxue made a discovery. She found an unopened foot washer in a drawer.
Teacher Lin’s father said unexpectedly, "Why did she buy another one?"
"Are they exactly the same?" Chen Shi asked.
"Yes, they are exactly the same. I saw this brand on TV. I once joked that I wanted one to try it out. Who knew that she’d note it down and actually buy two?"
According to various signs in the house, Teacher Lin definitely didn’t leave suddenly. She didn't take any clothes or turn off electrical appliances. She didn't even bring her credit card or ID card with her.
After going downstairs, Chen Shi said to Teacher Lin’s father, "Have you two turned on and used the foot washer yet?"
"We used it on the same day."
"Is the box still there?"
"Yes, we used it to make a nest for the dog at home!"
"I want to take the box back for inspection."
"Why do you want to test that? But since you insist..."
At noon, the two took back the packaging of the foot washer, and it was verified that there were Lin Xiaoxiao’s fingerprints on it, which made Chen Shi begin to doubt his previous guess. Was she really alive on October 1st?
Just then, the sub-bureau called and said that a female body had been found in the countryside. The entire second team rushed to the scene.
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