After the preliminary autopsy, Xiao Lou came to the following conclusions:
First, the time of the murder was determined to be around 4:30 in the afternoon. The crime was committed immediately after they left. It was probably because the murderer was afraid of being caught by the police. She must’ve run away after committing the crime. How did she escape? At present, they still needed to find the community property management and check the vehicle access monitoring.
Secondly, the murderer had a soft spot for ice. She covered the body with ice which seemed to have a strange meaning, much like a ‘curse’. She killed both Lin Yiyan and Xu Kai and froze the corpses after killing them before venting her anger with the cut marks. Currently, the person with the greatest motivation and suspicion was Qiao Xuening.
However, which one was the real Qiao Xuening?
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other, a bit confused in their hearts. Yu Hanjiang spoke solemnly, “I will do a search of the entire villa. I don’t believe that she has left no clues.”
The two men took the town’s police officers and searched from the basement to the rooftop on the top floor. All the fingerprints, hair and a plum blossom shaped earring found on the top floor were sealed by Xiao Lou in a sterile bag and brought back.
That night, Xiao Lou temporarily borrowed the town’s forensic appraisal centre to check the evidence collected while Yu Hanjiang went to the property management to check the monitoring in detail.
The two men were busy separately and didn’t meet at the police station until 3 o’clock in the morning. Xiao Lou pulled out all the identification results for Yu Hanjiang to see. “The long hair found in the bathtub belongs to a girl called Lin Dandan.”
Li Xinyang hurriedly said, “I know this Lin Dandan. She is one of the wine girls working at our town’s KTV. She looks very beautiful and has long hair. Xu Kai seems to have been dating her for a while.”
Then Xiao Lou asked, “What about Liu Qi and Yue Qingqing?”
Li Xinyang froze for a moment before replying, “They are all Xu Kai’s girlfriends.”
He smiled bitterly and rubbed his temples. Then he gave a detailed introduction to Xu Kai’s love history in recent years.
According to Li Xinyang, Xu Kai was still unmarried. He was over 30 years old and handsome. He was also the big boss of an Internet cafe and two hot pot restaurants. He was especially rich and had become the ‘local bully.’
Xu Kai was single and the number of girls chasing him was enough to form a long line. He basically changed girlfriends in the first half of the year and would give the girls a lot of money when he broke up with them. Therefore, his private life might be chaotic but there should be no girlfriends who wanted to kill him because he broke up with her.
Li Xinyang said, “Xu Kai’s reputation isn’t good but he is generous when dealing with his lovers. Many people know that he will give a lot of money when breaking up with his girlfriend. The girl will take his money and leave happily. Professor Xiao, the three girls you mentioned are all girlfriends he has been with in the last year.”
Xiao Lou murmured, “It seems I guessed right. The hair and fingerprints found in the basement, kitchen and bathtub are all left by Xu Kai’s girlfriend. The earring should also belong to one of them. Obviously, he lets his girlfriends stay over often.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly. “These people didn’t kill him.”
Li Xinyang wondered, “Group Leader Yu, how can you determine this?”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “He is related to a murder we’re investigating. The ice at the scene of the crime and the killing method are exactly the same. It is even the same murder weapon. This must be a serial homicide committed by the same murderer. The women in your town who have been with him aren’t too suspicious. Tomorrow, call them over for interrogation. If they can provide an alibi then let them go.”
Li Xinyang sighed with relief. “Okay.”
Yu Hanjiang added, “In addition, check the details of his cousin Zhang Xiaoyu. He is acting very guilty and should be hiding something from us.”
Li Xinyang nodded. “I understand.”
Yu Hanjiang patted the young police officer on the shoulder. “You worked hard. Go back first. It is dawn.”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou left the police station and drove back to the hotel together.
They returned to the room at 4 a.m. Yu Hanjiang pinched between his eyebrows and told Xiao Lou, “I watched all the surveillance videos of the community. After the incident occurred at 4:30, there were 30 vehicles entering and exiting the community up to 10:00 p.m. I have recorded all their license plate numbers. In addition, no suspicious person similar to Qiao Xuening was found.”
Xiao Lou told him, “Get some sleep. We will go to the traffic police tomorrow.”
The two people slept separately and only got a few hours of sleep before getting up.
The next morning at 7 o’clock, Yu Hanjiang first called Qu Wanyue and told her, “You must keep an eye on Qiao Xuening. Don’t let her run away. Once Xiao Lou and I come back, we can figure out her details.”
“Don’t worry. I will find an excuse to teach her dance moves and stay with her all day to watch her.”
Yu Hanjiang hung up and came to the traffic police department to check the information of the cars with Xiao Lou. None of the vehicles leaving the villa area after 4:30 yesterday afternoon were suspicious. All the car owners were residents of this small town and Li Xinyang checked their information in turn. Some went to the supermarket to buy groceries and others went to eat with their family…
All the cars had other passengers who could prove the car’s whereabouts. None of them were driven by one person.
Yu Hanjiang touched his chin thoughtfully. “She didn’t drive away? It seems that she is very cautious. She is afraid that we will find her true information by checking the license plate number. It is very likely that she left the villa area on foot.”
Xiao Lou agreed. “In Lin Yiyan’s case, she drove Lin Yiyan’s car away and her own vehicle couldn’t be found. This time, she didn’t drive. If she left on foot, there is only one exit in the community. A photo should’ve been taken of her, right?”
Yu Hanjiang answered, “However, none of the pedestrians who entered or left the community yesterday looked like Qiao Xuening.”
Xiao Lou thought carefully. “Did she go over the wall?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “It is possible. The walls of the villa area might be relatively high but if she can climb trees, there are many places where she can go over the wall. I have asked the property to provide me with monitoring of all locations around the community. I will continue to check it today.”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou went to the police station together.
Li Xinyang had invited Xu Kai’s girlfriends over early in the morning.
All three of them had alibis. One sang with others at the KTV, one permed her hair in the hair salon yesterday afternoon and the remaining one had an appointment with three girlfriends to go shopping. All their statements were confirmed by others.
The earring belonged to one of his girlfriends. Why was it left on the top level balcony? The other person explained in an embarrassed manner that Xu Kai had some special hobbies. Li Xinyang didn’t ask any further.
He simply took their transcripts and let the three of them go.
As for Zhang Xiaoyu, he told them everything after being brought to the interrogation room. It turned out that he went to find his cousin last night because he participated in gambling and lost hundreds of thousands of yuan. He was afraid his wife would divorce him if she knew. He looked for his cousin for ‘emergency money.’ He didn’t expect to see his cousin’s body when he opened the door. He was so scared that he called the police.
Li Xinyang handed the transcripts to Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou when they arrived.
Yu Hanjiang took a closer look. It was as he expected. They didn’t find anything from the three girlfriends and the cousin Zhang Xiaoyu but he wasn’t disappointed. After all, Xu Kai’s case and Lin Yiyan’s case were serial homicides and the murderer was the same. The hair and jewelry of the girlfriends found in the villa couldn’t help the progress of the case.
Xiao Lou was regretful. “The hair and fingerprints were found are all interference items.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly. “The murderer has committed two crimes in a row and she learned from experience. She might be covered tightly all over and wore gloves so her fingerprints and DNA can’t be checked. Her ice cubes should also be made on the spot.”
The killer sneaked into Xu Kai’s house early and made a lot of ice cubes in the freezer while Xu Kai was sleeping. Then she killed Xu Kai, buried the body in ice cubes and took away the containers from the freezer.
In this way, the ice cubes in Lin Yiyan’s case could be explained. The murderer lurked in Lin Yiyan’s house in advance and made a lot of ice cubes using the freezer. After killing Lin Yiyan, she took away the containers used to make the ice, making the police question the source of the ice.
Otherwise, the murderer carrying so much ice would be easy to arouse the suspicion of passersby. It would also be hard to move. Making ice on-site with water was the quickest way.
Yu Hanjiang suggested, “Let’s look at the monitoring of the community first.”
Li Xinyang took the initiative to help. He called his colleagues and opened the surveillance videos of the entire villa area provided by the property management. Each colleague was responsible for checking an area in detail.
Everyone was busy all day…
However, they didn’t find anyone climbing the wall of the community.
Li Xinyang was puzzled. “The murderer didn’t drive away or climb over the wall. Can the murderer fly or dig holes?”
Xiao Lou looked at Yu Hanjiang thoughtfully. “It is the same with Lin Yiyan’s case. We checked the surveillance from start to finish. No suspicious vehicles or people entered. Did she fly or enter the community from the ground?”
In Lin Yiyan’s case, the murderer drove Lin Yiyan’s car when she left. This was clear. Then how did she get in? Since Lin Yiyan rarely returned to the Yuehu villa area, the murderer could’ve sneaked in a month ago and it would be hard to find on the surveillance.
However, Xu Kai’s case was different.
Xu Kai went home every day. The murderer couldn’t hide in his house for too long. At most, the murderer sneaked into the villa in advance when he went out drinking last night. She took the opportunity to kill Xu Kai and left. It was no more than 23 hours and it was convenient for them to check the monitoring.
Yet the monitoring couldn’t find the murderer going in and out of the community. How did the murderer enter the villa area where Xu Kai lived? How did she leave? Could the murderer really fly? This wasn’t a martial arts script. The murderer couldn’t easily fly out.
Xiao Lou was baffled when he heard Yu Hanjiang say, “I’m afraid that we were caught in a thinking error from the start.”
Xiao Lou looked at him in a puzzled manner. “Group Leader Yu, what do you mean?”
“The murderer didn’t go over the wall. She walked in and out openly.”
Xiao Lou was surprised. “Since she walked out openly, why wasn’t she caught by the surveillance?”
Yu Hanjiang stared at Xiao Lou and lowered his voice, “…If someone can use plastic surgery to pretend to be Qiao Xuening then Qiao Xuening might pretend to be someone else on the monitoring. It should be her but unfortunately… we didn’t know it.”
Qiao Xuening couldn’t be found in the monitoring.
It was probably because she changed her appearance.
Proofreader: Fictional Reality