Chapter 537 – Identity of the Deceased
The first witness was a student of the conservatory of music. She was carrying a school bag and rode a bicycle. She was about to go to the library when she found the dead body floating there as she passed by the school lake. A singing competition was being held in a nearby gymnasium and the music from the gymnasium was deafening. The audience screamed one after another and the screams of the girl didn’t attract everyone’s attention.
Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao had just walked out of the venue which allowed them to discover the abnormality of the lake.
After hearing Xiao Lou say to call the police, the pale-faced girl hurriedly took out her phone and called 110 with trembling fingers. She stammered, “H-Hello, this is Jiangzhou Conservatory of Music, the Liuguang Lake, a body was found in the lake…”
There were only the three of them at the lake at this time.
Xiao Lou looked at Liu Qiao. Liu Qiao immediately took advantage of the girl’s lack of attention to jump into the lake.
The lighting was dim at night. Liu Qiao used her ‘Daughter of the Sea’ card to conjure a fish tail without anyone noticing and dove into the depths of the lake. She soon swam below the floating corpse. Liu Qiao opened the Night Pearl to carefully observe the surrounding environment. After a moment, she swam back and reported the results to Xiao Lou in a low voice. “I didn’t find any stones, vegetation or wood under the body. There is also no blood in the lake. The cause of death is still up to you. Professor Xiao, do I need to drag up the body?”
Xiao Lou shook his head. “Don’t destroy the scene. Wait for Hanjiang to come over. The protection of the crime scene is very important and the police might come to a different conclusion. I will do the autopsy, but later, not right now.”
Liu Qiao frowned. “However, Group Leader Yu isn’t the one that we know. Can he be relied upon?”
Xiao Lou gently rubbed his temples and said uncertainly, “If he is Yu Hanjiang of the past, he must be reliable. Hanjiang is a very good criminal police officer and can solve the case no matter how difficult. The thing that worries me is that the world we live in is a space created by the keepers from our memories. No matter whether it is Yu Hanjiang or Ye Qi, they are now NPCs and they won’t necessarily cooperate with us.”
It would’ve been easier to solve this case if the Yu Hanjiang they knew were brought into this world. However, the keepers wouldn’t be so kind. The thing that Liu Qiao was more worried about was the possibility of Yu Hanjiang and Ye Qi being hunters. Forget helping them solve the case. Perhaps Yu Hanjiang and Ye Qi wanted their lives?
A gust of wind blew in the night. The girl who called the police shivered for a while. Her face was extremely ugly and she seemed about to cry. She lifted the bicycle that fell next to her and said in a trembling voice, “The police have sent someone over. A-Are we going to wait here?”
“Of course. You are the first witness and the police will definitely have a lot of questions to ask you when they come.” Xiao Lou stepped forward and told her gently. “Don’t be nervous. The police’s routine questioning won’t embarrass you as long as you have nothing to do with the death.”
“Yes…” The girl wrapped her coat tightly around herself.
Moments later, two police cars appeared in Xiao Lou’s vision. In order to avoid attracting too much attention from students, the police cars didn’t have their sirens on when entering the campus. The cars quickly stopped on the side of the road. The door opened from the inside and a man in civilian clothes stepped out of the car.
It was actually Yu Hanjiang.
He walked toward the three people by the lake with a slight frown and a cold expression. At the same time, he waved to a colleague behind him. Two criminal investigation police officers immediately set up a cordon around them.
Yu Hanjiang took out a flashlight and illuminated the lake. Sure enough, a corpse was found in the middle of the lake. He turned to look at the girl by the lake with sharp eyes. “Who called the police?”
The girl timidly stepped forward. “P-Police officer, y-yes, it is me.”
Yu Hanjiang took out a notebook and pen from his pocket and stated coldly, “Name, age, occupation.”
The girl answered, “I, my name is Xu Mingyue. I am 18 years old and a sophomore at the conservatory of music.”
Yu Hanjiang quickly recorded it while asking, “When did you find the body?”
“Just now around 9 o’clock.”
“Why did you pass through here?”
“The final exam was coming up and I wanted to go to the library to study. I was passing by here when the wheel of my bicycle burst. I stopped to check only to see something floating in the lake. I walked over to take a closer look and saw a human face. It scared me to death…” The girl had now calmed down and expressed it quite clearly.
“These two are also witnesses?” He turned toward Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao standing behind the trees. Then he was taken aback when he made eye contact with Xiao Lou. “Professor Xiao, why are you here?”
“Han…” Xiao Lou coughed and quickly changed the name. “Group Leader Yu, my student and I came to the conservatory of music to watch the singing competition. We had just come out of the gymnasium when we heard a scream from the lake. We came over and found a corpse in the lake. I suggested that this Student Xu call the police.”
“I see.” Yu Hanjiang nodded before waving to the young police officer behind him. “You and Xiao Wu should first fish up the body. Then go into the lake to see if there is anything abnormal.”
“Yes, Group Leader Yu.” The two young criminal investigation police officers quickly took off their coats and went into the water. Immediately after that, another car drove in and stopped next to the police car. A capable female forensic doctor in a white coat put on her gloves and came to Yu Hanjiang. “Group Leader Yu, what about the corpse?”
“It is being salvaged.” Yu Hanjiang looked around. “I’ll take a look at the scene first.”
“Yes.” The forensic doctor sorted out the toolbox next to her. Yu Hanjiang took the flashlight and shone it around the area. Xiao Lou’s eyes followed him, trying to find some clues through him.
Soon, Yu Hanjiang crouched under a nearby tree. He frowned and turned over the dirt on the ground. He found a few nails and placed the nails in a sterile bag. Then he carefully observed the trees around him.
On one of the trees, the words ‘Zhang Hengyu and Ning Xue will be together forever’ were written in small characters. It was just that the handwriting was somewhat blurred. Yu Hanjiang took photos to collect evidence and went to the lake to look for clues.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang cooperated several times in the secret room and Xiao Lou naturally knew he was looking for footprints.
If the victim was killed, no matter whether the victim was pushed into the lake or moved to the lake after being killed, the murderer should’ve left footprints by the lakeside. Yu Hanjiang himself was a master of finding traces and he would naturally think of this.
Xiao Lou followed his gaze. Sure enough, there was a series of footprints by the lake. The person who left the footprints should be wearing flat shoes and the footprints were very small. It was more like a woman’s footprints.
At this time, the corpse in the lake was recovered. The two police officers who entered the water reported the results of the investigation. It was consistent with Liu Qiao’s preliminary investigation just now. No blood was found in the lake and there were no tools such as weeds or stones to sink the body in the lake.
The female forensic doctor began the preliminary autopsy. Xiao Lou was only an outsider at this time and had no right to intervene in the process of solving the case. However, he stood nearby and could roughly see the characteristics of the body, including the changes in skin, muscles and corpse spots.
The female forensic doctor said softly, “The deceased is female and around 20 years old. I didn’t find any fatal injuries on the body and there are no traces of struggle or fighting. It can be said that the death was very peaceful. Based on the mouth and nasal cavity, the initial judgment about cause of death is suffocation due to drowning. I need to do a detailed autopsy to find out the specific situation.”
The young police officer next to Yu Hanjiang looked at the footprints on the ground and actively analyzed it. “Group Leader Yu, this string of footprints is the same size as the foot of the deceased and the pattern is the same as the pattern of the soles of her sneakers. Only the footprints of the deceased are found by the lake. Is it proof that the girl committed suicide by throwing herself into the lake?”
Yu Hanjiang said indifferently, “Don’t jump to conclusions easily.”
The young policeman blushed and scratched his head. He coughed softly. “I’m just guessing…”
Yu Hanjiang turned to look at him. “Call the security guards on duty tonight and the school leader in charge of the student office. We’ll identify the student first. Before the cause of death comes out, we will check the social relationships of this woman in detail.”
His eyes were fixed on the tree in front of him and he stared thoughtfully at the two names.
At this moment, the girl who called the police suddenly had a ghostly expression on her face and her eyes widened in horror. “X-Xiao Xue?”
Yu Hanjiang suddenly turned back. “Do you know her?”
Xu Mingyue pointed stiffly at the corpse on the ground. “Her face is swollen like this so I can’t see who it is, but her clothes and shoes are exactly the same as my roommate Ning Xue. We bought them for her on her birthday, the day before yesterday!”
Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao glanced at each other. This was good. Xu Mingyue, who found the deceased, happened to know the deceased. However, was Xue Mingyue’s appearance by the lake really a coincidence?
Yu Hanjiang walked over to Xu Mingyue and asked indifferently, “Are you sure this clothing belongs to your roommate?”
Xu Mingyue nodded vigorously. “Yes. We picked those clothes for her.”
Yu Hanjiang raised his chin. “You call Ning Xue right away.”
Xu Mingyue searched through her contacts and called her roommate’s number. She heard the message ‘the phone isn’t answered’ and her face turned even paler. She stared at the corpse on the ground in shock. “It can’t be true. Is this really Xiao Xue?”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Do you know where Ning Xue went tonight?”
Xu Mingyue answered, “It seems she went on a date with her boyfriend. Tonight is December 31st and tomorrow is the new year. She said in the dormitory that she wanted to celebrate the new year with her boyfriend. They were going to the square to watch fireworks…”
Yu Hanjiang glanced at the names on the tree. “Is her boyfriend called Zhang Hengyu?”
Xu Mingyue nodded. “Yes, her boyfriend is very handsome. He seems to be a senior of the forensic department of the medical university next door.”
Yu Hanjiang recorded all this information. Then he walked to Xiao Lou and asked in a low voice, “I want to trouble Professor Xiao again. Do you know Zhang Hengyu, a student of the Department of Forensic Medicine?”
Xiao Lou looked calm. “I know him. He is the class leader in the third year of the Department of Forensic Medicine. This afternoon, I had a professional class and he came to the classroom. He sat next to student Liu Qiao.”
Liu Qiao was stunned and recalled the afternoon class. There was indeed a boy sitting next to her. She remembered that the boy looked handsome and clean. His fingers were slender and white and he listened very seriously in class. Every time Xiao Lou talked about the key knowledge points, he buried his head in his notebook to make notes.
He wrote well and his handwriting was neat as if printed. Upon reflection, the name on the book was indeed Zhang Hengyu.
Liu Qiao nodded in agreement. “Professor Xiao is right. Zhang Hengyu sat next to me during class this afternoon. He listened to the lecture very seriously and his expression didn’t look abnormal.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly and his gaze once again swept over the sentence carved on the tree.
-Zhang Hengyu and Ning Xue will be together forever.
Among them, the word ‘forever’ was somehow painted red with ink.
Xiao Lou obviously found this as well. He frowned slightly as he looked at Yu Hanjiang. “Could it be that… the two of them had a dispute, resulting in a murder due to love?”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “It isn’t that simple.”
He glanced at the three people at the scene and told them indifferently, “I have to trouble the three of you to follow me back to the police station to make a statement.”
Xiao Lou was keenly aware that Yu Hanjiang had found a clue but Yu Hanjiang refused to say anything to him. It was no wonder. Yu Hanjiang was now the group leader of the criminal investigation team and Xiao Lou was just a passerby who happened to be at the scene of the crime.
The police naturally couldn’t leak secret information to passersby when handling cases.
How could he pry open Yu Hanjiang’s mouth? What did Yu Hanjiang think was wrong?
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality