At 10:30 in the evening, the scene was processed and Liang Ting’s body was temporarily taken back to the forensics centre by a corpse van.
Yu Hanjiang used Liang Ting’s phone to call her husband Xie Yuan and inform him of Liang Ting’s death. He asked Xie Yuan to come to the forensics identification centre to claim the body.
Xie Yuan thought it was a scam call at first and refused to believe it. Yu Hanjiang handed the phone to Sister Chen and had her tell him. Sister Chen was choked up. “Mr Xie, it is true. Teacher Liang really had an accident. Come over, come directly to the police station!”
Xie Yuan was stunned and hurriedly said, “Okay, I’ll go there now!”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou followed the body back to the police station and Sister Chen was also brought back for a detailed investigation.
Xiao Lou would bring the evidence from the scene to the forensics centre for identification while Yu Hanjiang would take Xiao Wu to question Sister Chen in the interrogation room. The content of the interrogation included Liang Ting’s experiences in her career, her emotional status over the years and her relationship with entertainment stars.
Sister Chen was probably sad and her eyes were red when she answered. “In fact, I don’t know her experiences in her early years. I only signed with Teacher Liang as her agent four years ago. When I was her agent… people in the circle have a high evaluation of her and I’ve never heard of anyone she has a grudge with. She and Xie Yuan have a very good relationship. The couple travels together every day and their relationship makes the people in the circle very envious.”
Yu Hanjiang asked Sister Chen to describe today’s itinerary in detail.
Sister Chen said she went to pick up Liang Ting at home at 6:30 in the evening. At that time, Liang Ting was carrying a large bag with a thermos inside. This thermos was given by Xie Yuan and it was Liang Ting’s usual habit to use it to drink water when going out.
On the way, Liang Ting took out a cup and drank a few sips of water from the thermos. At the concert, she put on makeup and lipstick. Drinking water easily affected her makeup so she never drank the water in the thermos until after she took to the stage.
Yu Hanjiang immediately asked, “You said earlier that you spent over 10 minutes in the bathroom due to constipation and you found Liang Ting’s body when you returned to the lounge. What did you hear during your time in the bathroom? Include footsteps and remember it carefully.”
Sister Chen lowered her head and took a moment to recall it. “I went there and saw three girls from the 505 girl group in the bathroom together. I greeted them. Then I was in the toilet for less than half a minute when the girl in the cubicle next to me left the bathroom. It sounded like Zhao Yuxin.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Then after that?”
Sister Chen thought for a while. “Then another girl went out after half a minute and the bathroom became quiet. A long time passed before someone came in again. She knocked on the opposite cubicle door and talked to the person softly. I didn’t hear the details.”
Yu Hanjiang raised his head to look at her. “Think carefully about the other person’s footsteps. Was it the sound of high heels on the ground?”
“Yes, those who came in and out wore high heels.”
Yu Hanjiang wrote down this key point in his notebook. “Did anyone else come in during this period?”
Sister Chen shook his head. “No, I didn’t hear it.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at the shoes she was wearing. It was a pair of flat sneakers that were easy for walking.
30 minutes later, Yu Hanjiang finished the questioning of Sister Chen and asked his colleagues to go home first. Shortly thereafter Xiao Lou happened to come to Yu Hanjiang with the identification results.
The entire hall was silent. Everyone else had left and only Yu Hanjiang’s office door showed a warm light.
Xiao Lou walked over and found that the office door was open. Yu Hanjiang was sitting at his desk and staring at the computer screen with his arms crossed thoughtfully. Under the warm light, the dark blue police uniform made the man’s profile more handsome. There was a hint of abstinence in his demeanor.
Yu Hanjiang’s expression was serious and it was unknown what he was thinking but he was slightly frowning. He heard the sound of footsteps and raised his head to meet Xiao Lou’s eyes. His gaze immediately became gentle and he stood up to pour a glass of water for Xiao Lou. He whispered, “Have the identification results come out?”
“Have all your colleagues already left?” Xiao Lou leaned against his desk and asked carefully.
“They won’t be able to help much even if they stay. The colleagues in the secret room might give me wrong information and interfere with my judgment. I simply gave them a holiday and checked it myself.” Yu Hanjiang handed the warm water to Xiao Lou and said, “Drink some water.”
Xiao Lou took the cup of water and handed the identification results to Yu Hanjiang. He drank the water to moisturize his throat and said, “The water in the thermos cup was indeed poisoned. The ingredient was potassium cyanide. Judging from the remaining poison in the water, the amount of potassium cyanide placed in the thermos should be over 40 grams.
Yu Hanjiang picked up the information and closely examined it.
Xiao Lou added, “Usually, the lethal dose of potassium cyanide is 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight. Liang Ting’s weight is less than 50 kilograms. 15 grams of potassium cyanide is enough to kill her. However, the murderer’s dose was 40 grams and this exceeds the standard. It is obviously done this way to make Liang Ting unconscious within a few seconds of taking the highly toxic substance. She died quickly before she could be sent to the hospital for rescue.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “An excessive dose can kill Liang Ting instantly and avoid future troubles. The murderer seems to have a good understanding of potassium cyanide and was determined not to let Liang Ting have a chance to survive.” He turned to the next page. “What about the mineral water?”
Xiao Lou replied, “The mineral water isn’t abnormal. No poison has been found in all the lipsticks, foundations and other cosmetics.”
Yu Hanjiang had a ‘sure enough’ expression. “Were fingerprints found on the thermos?”
Xiao Lou sighed helplessly. “The murderer was very cautious and should’ve worn gloves when touching it. Only Liang Ting’s fingerprints were found on the body and lid of the thermos. In addition, I carefully checked the body of the deceased and there were no injuries. This is a typical poisoning case. If the potassium cyanide dose is too large then it could cause her to fall unconscious within a few seconds. Liang Ting didn’t even have time to struggle and call for help before she died.”
The identification results were what Yu Hanjiang expected. The murderer’s crime was clearly premeditated.
He opened the record of Sister Chen’s interrogation and pointed it out to Xiao Lou. “Liang Ting’s thermos was brought from home but she drank it on the way to the concert and nothing happened. This means the murderer isn’t her husband Xie Yuan. There was no poison in her thermos at the beginning. Our speculation is completely correct. The murderer poisoned her backstage at the concert.”
He saw Xiao Lou listening carefully and continued speaking, “Liang Ting stayed in the dressing room before taking the stage. Many people can confirm this. At that time, there were her stylist, makeup artist and agent following her. It would be difficult for the murderer to do anything. Then Liang Ting went on stage to sing, stopped to sign autographs for everyone and Ye Qi went on to sing. During this period, there was around 10 minutes where no one was in the dressing room.”
Xiao Lou agreed. “In other words, the murderer sneaked away during this time and poisoned the thermos in the dressing room. During the interrogation just now, several people went out during this time period. The murderer should be among them, right?”
Yu Hanjiang moved a chair over to let Xiao Lou sit down. He opened today’s interrogation records and analyzed it page by page.
“Zhao Yuxin said that after going to the bathroom, she quickly did her business and returned to the lounge. She was the first person to leave the bathroom and no one knows what she did after she went out. If she went to the toilet, flushed the water after entering the toilet, went outside and secretly went to Liang Ting’s lounge to poison her before returning to the lounge, there is enough time.”
“Ye Lan said she forgot to bring toilet paper to the bathroom. This was her one-sided statement. Did she really forget to bring it or did she find an excuse for her companion to leave so she could run out of the bathroom and poison Liang Ting? The confession from Sister Chen can confirm that Ye Lan really forgot to bring toilet paper. It was because Sister Chen had constipation and was in the bathroom the whole time. She heard the footsteps of Liu Xi leaving and coming back. She also heard Liu Xi knocking on the door and handing Ye Lan the tissues.”
“Liu Xi took seven or eight minutes to find the tissues. This is a bit suspicious but Ye Lan is actually the most suspicious one.” Yu Hanjiang circled all the suspicious parts in the testimonies of these three people and looked at Xiao Lou. “Ye Lan lied.”
Xiao Lou carefully looked at these interrogation notes.
Ye Lan said that someone had come in, perhaps a makeup artist or staff member. She heard footsteps that didn’t belong to Liu Xi because their second set of styling had high heels while the person was wearing flat shoes.
Meanwhile, Sister Chen’s testimony mentioned there was the sound of three sets of footsteps. First, a person went out. This was Zhao Yuxin, the one who left the bathroom the fastest. Second, someone else went out. This was Liu Xi who went to help Ye Lan find tissues. Third, a person came in and knocked on a cubicle door, calling out with a deliberately soft voice. This should be Liu Xi knocking on the door and handing the tissues to Ye Lan.
The members of the girl group were wearing high heels and the sound of footsteps on the tiles would be very obvious. This was completely different from the sound of flat shoes on the ground. Sister Chen was sitting there and it was impossible not to hear a fourth person’s footsteps.
Ye Lan said she heard it while Sister Chen said she didn’t. The testimonies of the two people contradicted each other and one of them must be lying.
Why was Ye Lan lying?
Yu Hanjiang explained, “Out of the four people who went to the bathroom, only Sister Chen was wearing flat shoes. If Ye Lan really heard the sound of flat shoes on the ground, she should’ve heard Sister Chen walking out of the bathroom, not someone coming in.”
Xiao Lou looked at Ye Lan’s testimony and suddenly realized, “She is indeed lying. Only Zhao Yuxin, Ye Lan, Liu Xi and Sister Chen went to the bathroom at that time. Everyone else backstage had companions to prove they never went to the bathroom. If Ye Lan really heard the sound of flat shoes stepping on the ground then it should be Sister Chen going out instead of someone coming in.”
Walking in and out… the footsteps weren’t the same. Ye Lan panicked and said the opposite, indirectly proving that Sister Chen’s testimony was correct. So why did Ye Lan lie?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality