Yu Hanjiang went to the police force that night to work overtime investigating all of Zhou Yuanyuan’s information, including her contact information and the housing information registered under her and her family. Xiao Lou was idle and had nothing to do so he simply returned to the police department with Yu Hanjiang.
The results of the investigation surprised the two.
Zhou Yuanyuan had just bought a house in the Yuehu Villa area but it was registered under her father, Zhou Jianqiang. This house was located in Area C. Judging from the housing distribution map provided by the community, her house was very close to Lin Yiyan’s villa. It was only separated by a road.
Yu Hanjiang said, “If she has a telescope then Zhou Yuanyuan can clearly grasp Lin Yiyan’s movements at home. This confirms our inference that the murderer has already made a detailed plan to kill her. Lin Yiyan is a famous celebrity. She is usually very busy and the time she returns to the villa isn’t fixed at all. It will be difficult to grasp the timing of the murder if the distance is far. Only people living in the villa area can monitor Lin Yiyan’s movements at any time and look for opportunities when she returns.
Zhou Yuanyuan had a private feud and the motive for the murder was sufficient. She also ‘coincidentally’ bought a house in the Yuehu Villa area. It was very close to Lin Yiyan’s place and was convenient for surveillance. She had enough opportunities and time to commit the crime.
Xiao Lou added, “This Zhou Yuanyuan is very suspicious. If the murderer is her then she can take the ice cubes to Lin Yiyan’s residence. After all, she lives very close to Lin Yiyan. However, since the two of them have a private enmity, will Lin Yiyan open the door to her in the middle of the night?”
Yu Hanjiang thought about it. “If she knocks on the door under the pretext of negotiation and pretending to reconcile with Lin Yiyan, perhaps Lin Yiyan would open the door? After all, she probably would’ve never expected that Zhou Yuanyuan would actually kill someone.”
Xiao Lou nodded in agreement. “It makes sense. It is your enemy who knows you best. It wouldn’t be surprising if Zhou Yuanyuan knows Lin Yiyan’s living habits. If she killed Lin Yiyan and took Lin Yiyan’s car… where would that car be now?”
Yu Hanjiang told him, ”I asked the traffic police team to check the route and whereabouts of the 6K502 car when I went to them yesterday. There is no result yet. Let’s go check for ourselves tomorrow.”
They worked overtime again until the early hours of the morning. Then Yu Hanjiang drove Xiao Lou home and the two of them went back to rest. The next morning, Yu Hanjiang drove Xiao Lou to the traffic police department.
Captain Zhang of the traffic police team was familiar with Yu Hanjiang. After seeing him, he gave a hurried greeting. “Group Leader Yu, have you come to investigate so early?”
Yu Hanjiang asked in a low voice, “Old Zhang, has the whereabouts of Lin Yiyan’s car been found?”
Captain Zhang shook his head with a wry smile. “We tracked this car, 6K502 for a long time. On Tuesday at 4:00 a.m., the car drove out of Yuehu Villa and drove around the city in a full circle. It finally disappeared at a fork in the road and the follow-up couldn’t be found. That block is the most remote suburb in our city. The road was recently being repaired and there was no time to install cameras.”
The murderer went around the city and finally went to a remote area with no cameras. This was obviously to hinder the investigation.
Captain Zhang called up the prepared surveillance and pointed to the 6K502 license plate on the screen. “Based on the surveillance at the fork in the road, this car should’ve driven out of Binzhou City and headed for Yuezhou in the next area. I have contacted the traffic police in Yuezhou City. They checked all of yesterday and just replied to me that they couldn’t find information about this car on the surveillance.”
Yu Hanjiang couldn’t help frowning when he heard this. “In other words, the car disappeared in the empty surveillance area?”
Captain Zhang touched his nose awkwardly. “Yes, the murderer has a strong sense of anti-surveillance. Our monitoring covers most of the traffic but there are indeed many areas that haven’t had time to install a camera.”
Lin Yiyan’s car was the key to this case. The person who drove it away was likely to be the murderer. If the car could be found smoothly then it would be a great help in solving the case. It was a pity that the whereabouts of this car was still unknown. It had magically disappeared from the surveillance?
Yu Hanjiang took out his phone to look at the map. “How many roads are there from Binzhou to Yuezhou City?”
Captain Zhang replied, “Two. One is a newly built intercity expressway that can reach Yuezhou in an hour. The other one is a mountain road which takes three and a half hours to pass over Nanlin Mountain. Nanlin Mountain isn’t high but it has steep terrain. There are 14 sharp bends on the mountain road so it is called the ‘14 turns road’. Most people rarely take this road but racers who like thrills will race on this road…”
At this point, the captain realized something and blurted out, “Did the murderer take this mountain road in the middle of the night?”
An unpleasant premonition rose in Yu Hanjiang’s heart. He asked in a deep voice, “The mountain road has no cameras installed?”
Captain Zhang spoke helplessly. “The road was built over 10 years ago. The road conditions aren’t good and the entire mountain road has no cameras. Many large trucks like to take that road since no one will care if they are overloaded.”
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes narrowed. “According to you, there are 14 sharp bends on this mountain road. This means it is prone to car accidents, right?”
“Yes, there are several U-shaped sharp bends on the mountain road and no street lights. Few people dare to take this road at night. Lin Yiyan’s car hasn’t been found. Could it be… it fell off the cliff?”
Yu Hanjiang replied softly, “It’s possible. Immediately go look under the cliffs.”
At Yu Hanjiang’s request, the traffic police team and criminal police team set off together to the mountain road.
The experienced Captain Zhang quickly found something wrong at a bend. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou got out of the car with him to check. A sharp bend guardrail happened to have a cracked gap. It was enough for a car to rush out of the curve and fall down the mountain.
Vehicles on the mountain road came and went. After a while, the tire tracks were very blurred. It was impossible to identify the traces but there was obvious black paint on the gap of the guardrail.
Yu Hanjiang crouched down and took a closer look. “The black paint is probably Lin Yiyan’s car. Go and take a look down the mountain!”
Several young traffic policemen quickly descended the mountain. After a while, a report was heard over Captain Zhang’s wireless transmitter. “Captain, a car was found at the foot of the mountain. The fuel tank has exploded and the entire car is burned until only the shell is left. The license plate number is Bin A-6K502!”
Sure enough, it was Lin Yiyan’s car. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other with helplessness in their eyes.
By the time the two of them descended the mountain, several traffic policemen had surrounded the scene and were taking photos for evidence. The vehicle had rolled down the mountain and the fuel tank exploded, causing a fire. The entire vehicle was burned and there naturally wasn’t much evidence left inside. Fingerprints, skin, hair, etc. couldn’t be collected at all.
If it wasn’t for Yu Hanjiang deliberately checking, no one would’ve known that a car crashed in such a wild and inaccessible place. It was useless to find the car. There were still no clues about who drove this car here.
Yu Hanjiang looked at the burned car and touched his chin. “The murderer drove the car to a bend in the mountain road and pushed it down to destroy the evidence. How did they get back? It is impossible to walk on such a remote mountain road. Someone must’ve come to meet them or they deliberately placed another car on the mountain road ahead of time, changed cars and drove back.”
Xiao Lou glanced at the traffic police captain and asked politely, “Captain Zhang, do you know if there are any cameras on the other side of the mountain road?”
Captain Zhang replied, “Over the mountain is the territory of Yuezhou City. It is a two kilometres long highway and there should be a camera. I can get my colleagues there to check the vehicle information for last Tuesday.”
Xiao Lou added, “The car doesn’t necessarily have to go to Yuezhou.”
Captain Zhang was taken aback for a moment and then he heard Xiao Lou calmly saying, “It can turn around halfway and return to Binzhou.”
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Xiao Lou with appreciation before telling the traffic police team, “Captain Zhang, the investigation in Binzhou must continue. It is indeed possible for the car to turn around and return to Binzhou. If you want to return to the urban area after going back from the mountain road, you must pass through that fork. Find information on all the vehicles who passed through that fork after 4 a.m. on the 17th. I’m sorry to trouble you.”
Captain Zhang smiled. “It is what I should do. I’ll go back and check for you.”
After collecting the evidence at the scene, everyone returned to the city together.
Yu Hanjiang invited Xiao Lou to eat a light meal before taking the police team to find Zhou Yuanyuan.
Zhou Yuanyuan had been recuperating in the hospital after the car accident last year. Yu Hanjiang called the hospital and they said that Zhou Yuanyuan had been discharged half a month ago. No one answered when her number was called so Yu Hanjiang simply took everyone to the Yuehu Villa area.
Yu Hanjiang found Zhou Yuanyuan’s house according to the address, asked his colleagues to wait outside and went forward to ring the doorbell. The one who opened the door was an old man around 60 years old. He had grey hair, wrinkles and looked very haggard. He peered at Yu Hanjiang suspiciously, “Can I ask who you are?”
Yu Hanjiang showed his police officer’s ID. “Hello, Uncle. We are police officers looking for Zhou Yuanyuan to investigate a case.”
The old man’s face changed. “You’ve got the wrong place. Zhou Yuanyuan doesn’t live here.”
Xiao Lou spoke warmly. “You are Zhou Yuanyuan’s father, Mr Zhou Jianqiang right?”
The debunked old man’s mouth twitched. He didn’t have time to refute it when he heard Yu Hanjiang’s calm voice. “Uncle, we are conducting a routine investigation. I hope we can meet Miss Zhou. After all, she is a public figure. Hindering the police investigation won’t be good for your daughter…”
Then a voice came from inside the house. “Old Zhou, who is it?”
The old man was silent for a moment. He seemed to feel that blocking the police from entering wasn’t good for his daughter’s reputation so he opened the door to let Yu Hanjiang and the others into the house. He told the old lady in the house, “They are two policemen. They said they came to investigate a case.”
The old lady was stunned. She immediately turned around to pour a few glasses of water and smiled. “Officers, please sit down. What is the case? Our family’s Yuanyuan was injured and just left the hospital. We don’t know what is going on outside. What happened?”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Is Miss Zhou here?”
The moment he spoke, a slender woman walked down the stairs. She was wearing simple, homely clothes with a pair of slippers on her feet. Her hair was only a few centimetres long. It had obviously been cut off for the operation.
There were several visible scars on her face which were traces left over after the skin grafting operation. She was still recovering but it was hard to conceal the exquisiteness of her facial features, especially her eyebrows. Her slightly raised sword-like eyebrows were full of momentum.
Zhou Yuanyuan walked into the living room and sat down on the sofa. She lit a cigarette and asked lightly, “Police officers, why are you looking for me?”
Yu Hanjiang questioned her bluntly. “Last week on the 16th and 17th, where were you?”
“Resting at home.” A sneer appeared on her face. “My face is so ghostly. Where else can I go?”
“Can anyone testify for you?”
Her parents wanted to come forward but Zhou Yuanyuan replied calmly, “I was alone at home. No one can testify for me.”
Zhou Jianqiang was stunned. “Yuanyuan, last week I…”
Zhou Yuanyuan interrupted him. “Dad, you and mom only came to Binzhou to take care of me the day before yesterday. The police can check your ticket information. There is no need for you to lie for me.” She glanced at Yu Hanjiang and raised her eyebrow slightly. “I was indeed at home alone last week. My agent and assistants were driven away by me. I wanted to be alone for a while.”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou looked at each other with surprise. Most suspects would find a way to create an alibi for themselves to remove suspicion. They didn’t expect Zhou Yuanyuan to be so straightforward that she would directly admit that no one could testify for her.
This Zhou Yuanyuan behaved so uprightly. Did she really have nothing to do with the murder?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality