The fire finally dissipated, but the air was still filled with a strong, pungent smell of the scorched remains. The trees that weren’t completely incinerated had become charcoal. Lin Qiupu called a big box of takeaway lunches and mineral water to reward the firefighters who put out the fire. The police also had some food. The fire had caused everyone to be overwhelmed.
"You’ve all worked hard. This fire may be related to a case. We suspect that a murder suspect set the fire. Let us collect evidence and investigate the scene!" Lin Qiupu said.
A fire chief said, "That is all right, but you should be careful when you enter the fireground. There may be more fire under some ruins and haystacks."
Just in case, the fire brigade left a car and sent two firefighters to follow them, carrying foam fire extinguishers.
Everyone walked onto the scorched woods. The ashes under their feet made cracking noises. They could feel the warmth on the soles of their feet even through their shoes. Lin Dongxue looked around. "Such a large forest was burned. The arsonist should be held criminally responsible, right?"
"It depends on whether they caused a death or not. Is this place considered public property?" Lin Qiupu answered.
"This forest is Dong Xiao's private property. If he burned it himself, he shouldn't have to go to jail." The accompanying reporter, Chen Gong, said lightly. "The premise is whether he himself was burned to death or not."
After walking for ten minutes, the wreckage of a small western-style villa appeared in front of them. Looking at the tall wall, you could imagine how magnificent this Fengyi Court had been. It was actually built by Dong Xiao for his mistress Su Chan alone. It seems he really adored her.
The police searched around, mainly to look for corpses. Several charred corpses were found inside. It was already very difficult to identify them. Even if Dong Xiao himself was among the charred corpses, his body had been burned away and his skeleton was no different from an ordinary person’s.
Chen Shi opened the deceased’s mouth and examined it. There was soot in the deceased’s mouth and respiratory tract. It seemed like they were burned alive. Most of these corpses were in small rooms, such as toilets and laundry rooms. They may have hidden there to try and hide away from the fire before being burned alive.
There was a corpse lying in a large bathtub. Both the bathtub and the corpse were quite well preserved, but the color of the corpse was a bit strange. It turned out that this person was lying in a bathtub filled with water to avoid the fire, but was boiled to death.
"It's truly miserable!" Lin Dongxue frowned and sympathized. "Who are these dead people?"
"Housekeeper, bodyguard, and nanny!" Chen Gong guessed, "It’s impossible to live alone in such a big house. Someone must maintain it."
"Take all the corpses away!" Lin Qiupu ordered.
The thirteen skeletal remains found in the ruins were sent back to the bureau. The identification work took three full days. During this period, Chen Shi and Lin Qiupu were investigating some of Dong Xiao’s information. As he was no longer here, the investigation was much more convenient. They could go to his office to conduct an open search, and Dong Xiao's secrets that weren’t known popped up one by one.
After some investigating, they found out that Dong Xiao wasn’t a simple man. He had actually colluded with the underworld, bought guns in private, and seemed to have committed kidnappings and murder. He had suddenly emerged from an ordinary communications company in the northwest and went southward. There was indeed blood in his history of coming to fortune.
Secretary Li had mild burns on him. The blood on his clothes was tested and found to be Lu Qi's. He was completely crazed and they couldn't get anything out of questioning him. He had to be sent to a mental hospital for treatment.
Based on their findings, Lin Qiupu inferred that Dong Xiao knew that he was about to be arrested. Out of nowhere, he found out that the person who betrayed him was Lu Qi, so he ran to kill Lu Qi. However, Chen Shi raised an objection. At the time, why would Lu Qi have been in Fengyi Court?
It didn’t matter what the situation was. Lu Qi shouldn't have shown up in Fengyi Court – It was Dong Xiao’s palace for his treasure!
As the investigation progressed, the police found that Dong Xiao had watched surveillance footage on his computer before disappearing. This surveillance footage wasn’t from a camera in the company, but it was one that was installed in Fengyi Court. In the footage, a man and a woman were having sex with each other. The imagery was comparable to that of an adult video.
The man was Vice President Lu Qi and the woman was Su Chan.
This discovery shocked everyone. Su Chan actually had an affair with Lu Qi. According to the people in the company, Lu Qi often went out with Su Chan, but it was because he was ordered by Dong Xiao to take care of her. There had been rumors in the company saying that the two of them had a relationship.
Chen Shi thought that Dong Xiao wasn’t careful enough. Su Chan was stunningly beautiful and Lu Qi was strong and handsome. He was a hundred times better than the old and ugly Dong Xiao. It was almost inevitable that these two young people would generate a spark with each other.
When investigating Lu Qi previously, Chen Shi took his driving records. When he read it again, he unexpectedly found that Lu Qi often didn't go home at night and drove the car to Chenggao Road, where he got into another car. It seemed that someone was picking him up. Sometimes the car didn't leave, and the body would sway regularly after stopping for half an hour. Then, Lu Qi would get out of the car with a tired look and drive home in his own car.
Judging from this, the adultery between the two had lasted for a long time, and Dong Xiao had been kept in the dark the whole time.
The police opened a locked drawer of Dong Xiao’s and found it was empty. The shape of the dust seemed to indicate a pistol. However, the gun was taken away.
Three days later, the autopsy results showed that Dong Xiao, Su Chan, and Lu Qi weren’t among the corpses brought back from the scene.
The events that happened on that day may have been simpler than what everyone had thought. Lu Qi learned that Dong Xiao was about to be arrested and couldn’t wait to "celebrate" with Su Chan. He didn’t expect Dong Xiao to see them through the surveillance camera. Dong Xiao was furious and took a gun with him to catch the adulterers. Lu Qi might have already been killed. Or perhaps Dong Xiao was too agitated, ultimately setting the entire Fengyi Court to fire.
Peng Sijue brought people back to the scene for a reexamination, but the fire had destroyed everything. Lu Qi's DNA couldn’t be found and no clues could be found. The three of them seemed to have evaporated into thin air.
It doesn’t matter whether Lu Qi was the traitor who secretly provided them with information. The important thing was to find Dong Xiao. He was not only involved in Cao Man’s case, but also suspected of kidnapping, extortion, hiring hitmen, arms-dealing, and an extreme amount of economic crimes.
The police issued a huge reward. As long as they could provide information on Dong Xiao, the amount ranged from 10,000 to 100,000 yuan and the person who assisted in the capture of Dong Xiao would receive a bonus of 600,000.
Chen Shi jokingly asked Lin Qiupu, "I am also a citizen. If I catch Dong Xiao, will I get a share of that reward?"
"You’re already considered half a police officer as a consultant. We’ve never been short in giving you money for the cases you solve, but you’re wanting a reward... But do you have a lead? If you can come up with a lead, I can make an exception and consider it."
Chen Shi shook his head. "There’s no lead. Would you like to listen to my deduction?"
"I think this fire was deliberately started and it wasn’t an accident! There were several possibilities at the scene. Dong Xiao was going there to catch the adulterers. He might have killed Lu Qi and Su Chan at the same time. This is the first possible scenario. Dong Xiao would have to have taken the two corpses and left. In the second scenario, Dong Xiao killed Lu Qi and took his corpse away with Su Chan. Su Chan had already been exposed to have had an affair and would definitely not cooperate-"
"She’s a woman and Dong Xiao has a gun. Would she dare not to cooperate?" Lin Qiupu said.
"Okay, what you said makes sense. In the third scenario, Dong Xiao killed Su Chan and took away the corpse and Lu Qi who’s alive. This one’s a bit funny. He killed his beloved woman, but walked away with the subordinate who betrayed him… In either case, Dong Xiao had to take two people with him, alive or dead. His size is obvious to all of us. Do you think he can move a corpse? Even if Su Chan’s corpse is 100 catties, can a big fat man like him carry 100 catties with him alone, and in the midst of a fire?"
"So, this fire is by no means an accident. Someone wants to cover up the truth. Dong Xiao was already anxious at this time. The police would arrest him at any moment. Was it necessary for him to burn his own house down to cover up the truth? So, I think Dong Xiao wasn’t the arsonist. In all likelihood, he’s already dead. It’s Lu Qi who wants to conceal the truth!"
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