After checking the body, Peng Sijue pointed to a certain area and said to Lin Qiupu, "There signs of a struggle on the ground here. There is a lot of blood around it... Look here; there are two circular marks which may have been left by the knees."
Lin Qiupu nodded. "The murderer should have pushed the victim down here and smashed his face with stones causing his death. Then, he dragged it over there and placed it with the female body... Has the time of death been determined?"
Peng Sijue shook his head. "It's too cold here. It's can't be determined just based on livor mortis alone. We have to go back and measure the liver temperature... How do you plan to bring the corpses back?"
"It's not easy. We will have to call a helicopter from headquarters."
Lin Qiupu immediately called a number, then walked to the side of the cave and looked down. Below was a deep forest. The murderer likely threw the case-related things down there. If they were to try and search for it, it was akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
He asked the person in charge, "Can I trouble you all to do something? Can you please hire a few workers to look for evidence for us? We will pay for any costs incurred… Please also ask the people at the local police station to cooperate."
The local police officer agreed. "Since it’s related to a life, we are duty-bound and will not evade our responsibilities.”
Lin Qiupu asked the person in charge, "Does this place usually ask for entry tickets?"
"We don’t ask during this season."
"Police officer, you might not know this, but nobody really comes here normally. However, during spring, when the peach blossoms bloom, people would even drive by car over to come and play. During that time, they would increase their tourism activities. After the fall, the mountains are bare and cold. Who would come here? Even if we collected entry tickets, it wouldn’t be enough to cover labor costs.”
“So, it’s free to the public then?”
“Yes, but all the people who come here are people who love hiking.”
When it came to hiking enthusiasts, the person in charge took a glance at the accompanying college students. The university students responded, "Some of us are part of hiking clubs and associations. They often organize mountaineering activities. The team members often say that they should not group up with strangers. When strangers team up together, there is a chance of robbery and sexual assault up in the mountains and forests. This kind of thing has happened before and the police couldn’t solve... Oh, sorry."
The speaker mentioned that unintentionally but the listener took it to heart. Lin Qiupu frowned and whispered that the police are not afraid of complicated cases, but rather of simple ones.
A person running into the street and killing a person without warning are the kind of cases that are the most difficult to solve. If this kind of spontaneous and indiscriminate murder were to happen in the mountains, it would be even more difficult.
"Then… Is there surveillance at the entrance?" Lin Qiupu asked.
The person in charge smiled and shook his head. "In the mountains, where would we have surveillance? But there are several restaurants situated at the intersection that you can ask."
There was a gust of wind and everyone looked up at the helicopter that came. The forensics team stuffed the body into a body bag, tied it on the rope that the helicopter dropped down, and slowly lifted it up.
It was the first time that the college student had seen a police helicopter, so he took out his phone and took a few pictures. Lin Qiupu ordered, "Don't photograph it. Delete the photo."
"Sorry!" The college student smiled shyly.
Once the body was transported away, everyone returned to the route they came up from. Lin Qiupu instructed Lin Dongxue to talk with the college students to see if there were any missing clues. They sent several people to look for eyewitnesses nearby and he went to communicate with the local police station himself.
Lin Dongxue asked, "Would you like to call Chen Shi?"
"Don't look for him yet. If we count on him for every single case, then we’ll be… We’ll talk about this later. This case is different from the previous ones. He might not be able to help us solve the case.”
The on-site forensics work was over. It was past noon by this time. Everyone had a casual meal at a small restaurant before they returned to the bureau in the afternoon. Peng Sijue started to dissect the bodies while Lin Qiupu and Lin Dongxue also went to the forensic laboratory to watch the autopsy.
The body had been dissected when Peng Sijue noted, "The time of death was about seven days ago for the woman, whereas the male seemed to have died a little later. It’s possible that he died three to twelve hours later."
"Can't you be a bit more precise?" Lin Qiupu asked.
Peng Sijue shook his head. "The cave was very cold. There are no insects in this season either. All of the current means of testing still can't accurately predict the time of death."
"The age of the woman is estimated to be about 23 years old and the man is estimated to be about 25 years old. The wound on the female’s face is caused after death. The real cause of death seems to be poisoning. Her liver and kidney have obvious signs of poisoning. We were able to find a needle mark behind her left shoulder blade, which was inserted through the clothes..."
"Let me see."
Peng Sijue showed the needle wound to Lin Qiupu. He clarified, "Although the female victim is thinner and the muscles are less bulky, the needle deviated from the initial insertion point, but overall, this angle cannot have been done by herself.”
"What poison was it?"
"It’s still getting tested. I found that she had signs of heart failure, and that the cause of death is most likely to be heart failure caused by the poisoning. The target of this poison should be the cardiopulmonary system.”
Lin Dongxue mused, "The two are wearing the same clothes. Surely it wasn’t suicides of passion, right? Or perhaps they were murdered while they were engaging in such?”
Peng Sijue responded, "That’s a point that can’t be proven. There were many calluses on the palm of the man's hand and his fingertips had traces of climbing chalk, indicating that this person really likes mountain-climbing. As for whether or not he came with the female deceased, it is not known.”
"Are there other findings?" Lin Qiupu asked.
"The male victim has serious face injuries. There’s even a broken eyeball, but this is not the cause of death. The cause of death was the rupturing of the blood vessels that blocked his veins and trachea, causing suffocation. The death process may have lasted over an hour. After the murderer finished their deed, the deceased was still alive at that point. He lay there and slowly died in a half-awake state."
When she heard this, Lin Dongxue couldn't help but frown. This kind of death was too painful.
Peng Sijue continued, "Right, the stomach contents of the two people showed that the last meal the female had was ten hours before death, and the male deceased had his meals two hours before death. The two ate completely different food. The male victim seemed to have had chocolate, compressed biscuits and energy drinks on the way up the mountain. It can be said that the female victim went up the mountain with an empty stomach and didn’t even drink a sip of water during the process.”
"It takes four hours to climb the mountain, but she didn’t even drink a sip of water on the way?” Dongxue was a little surprised.
"It seems that these two people were not together. Otherwise, how could their food consumption be so different?” Lin Qiupu asserted confidently.
"This can only be regarded as circumstantial evidence."
"Did the female victim have..."
Peng Sijue knew what Lin Qiupu wanted to ask, and continued, "There is no sign of sexual behavior. She is not a virgin. Also, both of them are in good health. Apart from a minor liver problem, the male victim had a habit of smoking. The female deceased has minor gastritis. In addition, the female had signs of wearing earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. But these things are all missing."
“Can you restore the appearance of the deceased?”
"The skull is so damaged that it would take some time to try and restore it.”
"Okay, I will hand it over to you then. Let's go and see whether there have been missing person reports recently."
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