As the alleyway was too narrow, the police cars couldn't drive in, so Peng Sijue and the people from the forensics department walked in carrying their toolboxes.
The sex worker at the scene was woken up. Due to the effects of the anesthetic, her head was muzzy. They asked her about what happened at the time. She only remembered that the TV was on when she walked in. It was very noisy. While looking at the TV, someone suddenly pierced her neck. Before she felt the pain, she had lost consciousness.
Chen Shi tried to re-enact this process, and found that the murderer was using his left hand. It was undoubtedly the same person.
She couldn't remember any other information, including the clothes and the appearance of the murderer. The woman was temporarily sent to a nearby hospital for examination. When she was more sober, they would record a more detailed statement.
When she was being taken away, she suddenly thought of something and yelled, "You aren’t going to arrest me, right? I haven't completed the transaction with that big brother."
One thing was missing from the scene. The bloody handprints that had appeared in the first two cases were absent. An ashtray left behind on the floor had some human tissue adhering to it and it was slightly broken. It was suspected that it had been used by the murderer to knock down the deceased.
There was a little more improvisation in this case, and the murderer seemed a bit anxious. After all, it was a rare opportunity given that Zhang Xiao had come out by himself.
At the scene, Peng Sijue found some fibers. Judging from the color and length, they had come from a wig. It confirmed Chen Shi's conjecture that the murderer might have been disguised as a woman in order to lure Zhang Xiao here.
Lin Dongxue went up the stairs and said to Chen Shi, "I checked the information registered by the murderer, and a person named Li Xiangran actually exists. She’s from Hunan."
"This may also be a clue." Chen Shi glanced at the messy room. "After taking revenge for Duan Lin, what do you think this person will do next?"
"Will he run away?"
"I don't think so. He doesn't know about the speculations we have so far. From the very beginning, when he posted those corpse parts, he had concealed himself and posed as one of the possible victims. He committed all three murders very efficiently. He has sufficient confidence that he hasn’t been exposed yet."
"He really hasn’t been exposed... Have you guessed who he is yet?"
Chen Shi shook his head. "I still don't understand why he killed Big Ox."
"Could Duan Lin just be a cover? He’s avenging another person. I think we can investigate this Li Xiangran."
At this time, the forensic police carried the bagged body out and Peng Sijue walked out afterwards. Chen Shi asked, "Did you find the deceased's cell phone?"
"No. By the way, trace particles from the first murder scene were found in Big Ox's case. With the help of the local police, the missing internal organs were found in a nearby manhole."
"There are no valuable leads." Chen Shi smiled bitterly.
"Whether it has value depends on how you use it. I'm just responsible for checking."
Looking at the room one last time, Chen Shi remembered something. Little Four had said that Zhang Xiao’s wish was to have a threesome without spending money. Zhang Xiao had brought a sex worker in, and there was a "woman" waiting for him in the room. This showed that someone was using his wish to trick him here.
The murderer had taken the cell phone away, further confirming this point. Their chatting might have been conducted through a social networking software, so the logs can’t be found even if they checked the call records.
This place belonged to the old part of the city. There were no security cameras around this motel. The murderer had deliberately picked this place to lure Zhang Xiao to his death.
This kind of small motel wouldn’t have been found online. Chen Shi mentally recalled which of the remaining people lived nearby. There was only one man named XX.
The outline of the murderer in his heart had already formed a vague image, and it seemed that he was just missing the finishing stroke.
The two returned to the bureau in a police car, and Lin Qiupu held a case discussion meeting. The case had already been classified as a serial murder. Although Zhang Xiao had already been killed, the possibility of the murderer continuing to commit crimes couldn’t be ruled out.
Someone suggested that at this critical juncture, the few remaining people should be controlled and they should check where they had been recently and whom they have contacted.
Chen Shi felt that the investigation scope shouldn’t be tightened all at once. The murderer's tactics were very sophisticated and it couldn’t be ruled out that he might have a criminal record. This person was very dangerous. In the previous investigation, the police speculated that the murderer had always been someone close to Duan Lin, who was not among the nine people. Now that they’re suddenly changing their direction to investigate the few of them, it was easy to alert the murderer.
"If we were to investigate, we have to do it secretly. Don't directly ask them for their alibis." Chen Shi said.
"Or bring people over for questioning one by one. Let's not make the news of Zhang Xiao's death public, so as to test them." This was Old Zhang's suggestion.
"Who is Li Xiangran?" Lin Qiupu asked.
"Oh, I just called the Hunan police and found the actual person. She’s an ordinary rural teacher. I asked her about the names of these nine people one by one. She didn't know any of them." Lin Dongxue said.
"The murderer couldn’t have blindly come up with an ID number. Even if his name is different, he must have lived there before... Who among these nine people has a Hunan accent?" Lin Qiupu asked.
"None of them." a policeman replied.
"Oh yes!" Chen Shi said. "Did Duan Lin's father confess anything? He should have been in touch with the murderer, or at least have contacted him."
Lin Qiupu shook his head. "He’s detained at the police station. After questioning him for over an hour, he said that person was taking revenge on behalf of Linlin, so he won’t betray him."
"There should be a record of him talking with that person on his phone, right?"
"We checked, but there isn’t anything."
"At the present time, we will start investigating the few remaining people. Try to take note of two points when questioning them face-to-face. Don't disclose the news of Zhang Xiao's death and also make them think that the police are suspecting someone else instead of them." Lin Qiupu announced.
"I suggest that everyone copy a photo of Duan Lin's father and show it to them before questioning them. Ask whether they’ve seen this person, to divert their attention." Chen Shi said.
"Too immoral!" Lin Qiupu rolled his eyes. "Just find a picture of a wanted criminal to set up a smoke screen with."
After the meeting, Chen Shi rubbed his face tiredly, thinking that the murderer had good physical strength. He murdered someone last night, and he had continued to kill today.
Lin Dongxue asked him to go and investigate the case. The two left the meeting room. In the corridor, a forensic intern panicked and exclaimed, "The body is gone!"
The policemen, who had been walking out, gathered together again. The little forensic intern kept repeating these words for a long time. Finally, everyone ran to the autopsy room and saw an empty autopsy table.
"The corpse was there just now. I just went to wash my hands and it was gone!"
"Is someone playing a prank?!" Peng Sijue, who was rarely stern, looked around at his subordinates sternly. "You shouldn’t play this kind of joke!"
"Captain, who would dare to play such a joke? Where would we hide a corpse that weighs over a hundred catties?"
"Hey, why are there blood stains on the ground?" Chen Shi said, and everyone looked down together. There were indeed faint blood stains on the ground. They weren’t from blood dripping, but left by dragging.
Lin Dongxue had a sudden idea. Could the murderer have done it? But that’s impossible. The murderer had even thrown his head away. Why would he take the risk to steal a heavy body?
Speaking of the head, Zhang Xiao's head had been placed on an iron tray.
The atmosphere in the autopsy room became strange and eerie. Everyone discussed and finally reached an agreement – check the surveillance footage!
Just as they were heading out, there was a scream that came from the street...
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