Yu Hanjiang had seen many crime scenes but this one was really strange. The bathtub was full of ice cubes and the woman in a dressing gown lay in the middle of them. Her face was horrified and her eyes were wide, her eyeballs protruding out. She was obviously extremely shocked before she died.
This time, the secret room had a modern urban background and Yu Hanjiang was a police officer. He brought a lot of tools when coming to investigate the case. He put on gloves and whispered in Xiao Lou’s ear. “You examine the body first. I will collect the evidence on the spot.”
Xiao Lou nodded, put on gloves and started working.
Yu Hanjiang walked out of the bathroom and quickly scanned the scene. There was a two meters wide double bed where the sheets were laid out with no creases. However, the owner was wearing a bathrobe. Perhaps she had changed into the bathrobe after entering the bathroom and was killed before she had time to go to bed. Of course, this didn’t rule out the possibility that the murderer deliberately laid out the sheets neatly.
Yu Hanjiang walked over to open the sheets but found no suspicious traces. The hairs on the pillow were picked up using tweezers and placed in a sterile bag to be taken back for inspection.
There was a dressing table that had a width of around 1.5 metres by the bed. It was piled with skin care products and there were dozens of lipsticks alone. There was a fashion magazine on the table and a model in a dress posed on the cover. Yu Hanjiang took a closer look and found that the model was the deceased. The fact that she was on the cover of a magazine showed that the deceased was a model or a celebrity.
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly and took dustings of the fingerprints inside the house with a portable device.
The urban background was very convenient. He could use various professional instruments to assist in the investigation. However, to his disappointment, in the entire bedroom, only the dressing table had many fingerprints. According to his speculation, they were probably the deceased’s fingerprints.
A few pieces of cotton makeup pads were found in the trash can next to the dressing table with traces of lipstick and foundation. The deceased should’ve sat here to remove makeup before taking a bath.
Yu Hanjiang immediately took the luminol reagent from a colleague and sprayed it on the ground in a circle. He used the characteristics of blood and the luminol reagent to look for blood stains. There was no blood fluorescence reaction on the bedroom floor. The blood stains were only seen in the bathroom and most of it around the bathtub. Obviously, the first crime scene was the bathroom.
The killer was very professional and might’ve been wearing gloves. They left no fingerprints and cleaned up the scene after the crime.
Yu Hanjiang went to the window. The windows were locked from the inside and the curtains were drawn. There were very few residents around this villa and thick blackout curtains in the bedroom. Even if someone passed by just outside the villa at the time of the incident, they wouldn’t see what had happened in the bathroom. It would be difficult to find a witness.
Yu Hanjiang quickly completed the investigation of the first scene and went outside to make a circle around the villa.
He wanted to find out if there were any residual hair or fingerprints. As a result, he found many fingerprints in the living room. Yu Hanjiang collected them and prepared to take them back for comparative analysis.
In addition, the two assistants he brought searched the living room and kitchen and reported some useful clues to him. “Group Leader Yu, seven or eight empty wine bottles were found in the trash can in the kitchen.”
Yu Hanjiang took a look and nodded. “Bring it back for testing.”
He also saw traces of red wine on the couch. It must’ve been accidentally spilled while drinking.
The living room was very clean. Yu Hanjiang’s sharp gaze swept over it. A policewoman was taking photos of the scene. He took the camera from the policewoman and took photos of several suspicious areas.
After searching the whole villa, Yu Hanjiang returned to the scene on the third floor.
Xiao Lou was leaning over the corpse to examine it. There were many special forensic instruments in his box. Seeing Group Leader Yu come in, Xiao Lou lowered his voice. “The fatal wound of the deceased is the knife in the heart. The wound here was very deep. The murderer should hate her very much and cruelly tortured her before death. Since the deceased was frozen in ice, it is difficult for me to accurately determine the time of death.”
Using a post-mortem examination required testing the liver temperature, algor mortis. This was added to the stiffness of the corpse’s muscles, rigor mortis, and the appearance of liver mortis, discoloration due to gravity affecting the pooling of blood, to determine the time of death.
However, now the deceased was frozen in ice cubes in winter and the temperature of the house was also very low. The liver temperature was greatly affected. It was useless to measure liver temperature. In addition, the stiffness of the muscles couldn’t be accurately inferred because of the ice.
Yu Hanjiang understood and nodded. “The killer should’ve deliberately tried to confuse the time of her death.”
Xiao Lou told him, “Based on the appearance of the corpse, my preliminary speculation is that the time of death is more than three days ago. I have to take the body back for a detailed autopsy.”
Xiao Lou took out a transparent sterile bag from his carry case. “In addition, I found this.”
Yu Hanjiang took a look and saw that the sterile bag had an unknown substance in it. Xiao Lou explained, “There was a small amount of skin debris in her fingernails. It is possible that she scratched the murderer in the process of struggling. Taking it back for genetic testing might help solve the case.”
Xiao Lou examined the body very carefully and didn’t let go of the smallest clue.
Yu Hanjiang frowned at the body in the bathtub. “Don’t you think that this scene isn’t quite right?”
Xiao Lou naturally also found this and spoke tacitly. “It really isn’t right. There might be many cuts on her body but the scene isn’t bloody at all. It should’ve been cleaned up. There are traces of a cat’s claws on her body. This should’ve been left by the cat next door when he jumped in and accidentally touched the ice cubes around her. Then he fled in a panic.”
Having said that, Xiao Lou couldn’t help wondering about something. “Where did so many ice cubes come from?”
Yu Hanjiang answered, “I checked the refrigerator. This villa shouldn’t be where the deceased usually lives. There are only some beer and carbonated drinks in the refrigerator. There is no food and no ice cubes in the freezer. Obviously, these ice cubes were deliberately brought by the murderer.
Xiao Lou mused, “It seems the murderer has been planning this for a long time and specifically brought ice to kill her?”
Yu Hanjiang thought about it for a moment and whispered in his ear, “I want to confirm the identity of the deceased and what happened in recent days. Later, you will take the evidence back to the appraisal centre for testing. I will visit some of the surrounding residents to see if there are witnesses.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Okay.”
The two people glanced at each other and went downstairs in tacit silence.
The bathroom was located in the master bedroom on the third floor of the villa. The small bathroom window wasn’t locked. If the cat hadn’t suddenly crawled in through the window, the dead woman in the villa might not be noticed for another month.
The murderer froze her body with ice cubes, deliberately turned off the heating in the house to confuse the woman’s death time and didn’t want her dead body to be discovered by the neighbours…
The murderer was extremely calm. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t find that the bathroom window was just closed, not locked. It would’ve never occurred to them that a domestic cat would destroy their plan.
Yu Hanjiang came to the door of the villa and Xiao Wu, the intern police officer, was chatting with the old lady who reported the case. Yu Hanjiang came over and asked, “Auntie, do you know who lives in this villa?”
The old lady shook her head. “I don’t know. My son, daughter-in-law and I have lived here for a year. I have never seen anyone coming back next door and the curtains of the house are always drawn. I thought that no one was living in the villa…”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Did you hear anything unusual around three or four days ago?”
The old lady thought about it carefully and suddenly said, “By the way, last Tuesday, a car passed by downstairs and stopped next door. At that time, I was going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was around two or three in the morning. I heard a noise downstairs and opened the curtains to take a look. There were two private cars.”
Yu Hanjiang wondered, “Do you have an impression of the license plate number?”
The old lady smiled apologetically. “Ah, I am old and have a bad memory. The cars drove very quickly in the middle of the night. I only saw black private cars driving into the yard next door one after another. I didn’t see it clearly.”
The front of the villa was a yard with a garage.
The old lady’s villa was side by side with the next door villa. In addition, the villa area had a separate garden. There were many trees between the two villas. She really couldn’t see the situation of the next door yard from the window.
The old lady provided limited clues. Yu Hanjiang nodded at her and called for Xiao Wu to find the security of the community.
Just now, Yu Hanjiang had shown his police officer ID when the car drove into the villa area and several security guards had followed him nervously. Now they heard that someone was dead in the community, the expressions of the security guards were a bit ugly.
Yu Hanjiang requested, “Take me to the monitoring room.”
The security guard captain immediately cooperated.
Yu Hanjiang called for Xiao Wu to come to the monitoring room with him.
The security of the luxury villa area was naturally done very well. Outsiders generally couldn’t enter unless they were guests of the residents of the villa. At that time, the security guards who remained in the monitoring room saw a handsome man in a police uniform enter and were worried. “Officer, what happened?”
Yu Hanjiang calmly ordered, “Give me all the surveillance for a week in the vicinity of Villa No. 191 in Area C. In addition, list the records of vehicles entering and exiting the community last Tuesday night after midnight.”
The security guards immediately rushed to the computer to retrieve the monitoring videos. Yu Hanjiang stood beside them with his arms crossed, expression serious. The security guards didn’t dare talk indiscriminately. They called out respectfully, “Police officer, this is all of the monitoring.”
Yu Hanjiang walked over and carefully watched the screen. He found that the area of road in front of the villa happened to be a black screen and frowned. “Is the camera here broken?”
The security guards looked embarrassed. “This…”
The villa area was too large. If one or two cameras were broken in some places then they didn’t investigate it too clearly.
Seeing that they couldn’t say anything, Yu Hanjiang ignored the surveillance. “I just saw a license plate recognizer installed at the gate of your community. There should be records of vehicles entering and exiting, right?”
The security captain immediately nodded. “There is.”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “If it isn’t a vehicle belonging to residents of the community, do they need to register their information to enter the community?”
The security captain replied, “Yes, foreign vehicles aren’t allowed to enter our community but if it is a visitor of one of the residents, they can register the reason for entering at the security room at the entrance and park temporarily.”
Yu Hanjiang went to the computer to see the information of the vehicles that entered and exited.
After all, this community was a high-end villa area with a low population density. There were no more than 100 households. After midnight last Tuesday, there weren’t many vehicles entering and leaving the community. Moreover, the clue provided by the old lady was very clear. Yu Hanjiang soon found two black private cards entering the community one after another.
To his surprise, both vehicles were approved by the electronic identifier and drove directly into the community without registering the visit. He quickly took down the license plate numbers: A-6K502 and A-6K501. They were actually serial numbers.
Yu Hanjiang reacted by asking, “These two cars belong to an owner in the community?”
The security captain explained, “When they move in, the owners will register the license plate number at the property centre of the community. There are many rich people in our community and it is common for a family to have three or four cars. If it is a foreign vehicle then it will be stopped if it can’t be identified. Both these vehicles drove directly into the community so they should be cars registered in our community.”
Since the vehicles weren’t stopped, the drivers couldn’t be seen on the surveillance.
Yu Hanjiang said, “Call the property and check the two license plates and the resident information for Villa 191 in Area C.”
The security guard immediately took out his phone to inquire with the property management centre. After a moment, he replied, “The resident, as well as the owner of these two cars, is registered as Lin Yiyan.”
At this time, a security guard spoke up. “This name sounds a bit familiar?”
A young guard next to him had bright eyes. “It seems to be a star… I remember, isn’t this Lin Yiyan someone who just won an award? My girlfriend is her fan!”
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly. She was actually a celebrity? The cause of this woman’s death didn’t seem simple.
After watching the surveillance, Yu Hanjiang took the security guards to visit several residents near No. 191 in Area C to see if the residents had seen anything. Unfortunately, after a round of investigation, they didn’t get any useful clues. Several houses weren’t occupied and the rare residents that they did meet said they didn’t know the residents of No. 191 and had never seen them.
Celebrities had to guard against paparazzi so their residences were generally secretive. They would also be fully armed and try to be invisible when entering and exiting the community. This brought great difficulties when investigating.
There was no way to get more clues from this small area and Yu Hanjiang had to call his subordinates. “Stop the team.”
The police car played the sirens and left.
Yu Hanjiang sat in the car and used his mobile phone to check the relevant information of Lin Yiyan on the Internet.
Lin Yiyan, a star contracted by Starlight Entertainment, had been famous for many years. She had over 100 million Weibo fans. She was 30 years old this year so she was still quite young. Her appearance was the dignified type and she had exquisite and wide-ranging acting skills. She won numerous domestic and foreign movie and television awards and was regarded as a popular actress in the entertainment industry.
Her last Weibo was posted a week ago, it read: The new drama World of Mortals has successfully finished shooting. This time, it took over a month to shoot. Thank you to Director Zhang and the crew for their help and care. Everyone has worked hard.
There were hundreds of thousands of messages below, all of which were fans saying things like ‘Goddess is so beautiful’ and ‘Goddess, jiayou’, etc.
Yu Hanjiang searched her Weibo for some keywords.
The World of Mortals she finished filming was an ancient costume drama and she played the heroine, the princess of a country that had been conquered. During the process, she had some emotional relations with the male lead, second male lead and third male lead. Obviously, this Weibo was managed by her agent. All the behind-the scenes news were photos captured of her during filming. The photos were very beautiful.
Based on her Weibo, there was nothing wrong. Her last post only said her new drama had been completed. No one would’ve thought that she would suddenly die at home.
Yu Hanjiang touched his chin and thought for a moment. Then he told Xiao Wu, “After returning, immediately contact Lin Yiyan’s company to investigate her social relations. There might be many people involved in this case.”
The interests behind a celebrity were very entangled and complicated. Investors, directors, other stars in the circle, fans, agents, assistants, etc. Who had she offended, who did she have a deep hatred with and who had the most motivation to kill her?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality