The fingerprints and footprints of Liu Mengying and Luo Wei had been registered, and as a precaution, the on-duty personnel from the forensic department had also taken blood samples. The results had already been sent to the database.
After carefully reviewing the information provided by Liu Mengying regarding the sleeper website, including the recent contacts list, Lu Junchi instructed several team members to retrieve the real names of those on the list, register them, and contact them to verify the information.
Lu Junchi had spoken to Director Tan yesterday afternoon and obtained the official approval for the joint investigation before noon today.
Xia Mingxi had helped draft the joint investigation statement and sent it out to the entire city’s police system.
After sending it out, Xia Mingxi was somewhat worried, “Captain Lu, will the sub-bureau respond to this joint investigation?”
Qu Mingdao replied, “I think… you should worry about someone trying to shift blame onto this strange case…”
“All cases where the perpetrator is unknown, and an attempt was made to conceal the truth by labeling the cause of death as an accident after June 1st within the entire city can request a joint investigation with the city’s Serious Crime Division.” Qiao Ze recited the joint investigation email conditions, “I think this sentence is a bit convoluted… many sub-bureau personnel may not understand the criteria.”
However, Lu Junchi remained calm and said, “Let’s wait and see.”
There were many experienced old police officers throughout the Huadu City police system, and unexpected gains might be made.
The death of Liu Mengying’s mother was quickly transferred to the Serious Crime Division.
Superficially, it appeared to be a very ordinary accidental death case. The sub-bureau had also treated it as such, and the case had even passed the review by the inspection team.
Liu Mengying’s mother was named Zhuang Xueyi and was the chief violinist of the Huai Orchestra. She was extremely skilled in playing the violin, and those who had heard her play praised her highly. In the symphony music circle, many people liked her.
Zhuang Xueyi was forty-five years old when she died and had a figure and appearance that was comparable to that of younger women.
Last year, after a concert by the orchestra, she accidentally fell from the stairs in a safety passage and died.
If you want to say what’s different about this case, it’s that when she fell, she was holding a large bouquet of white carnations.
At the time, Zhuang Xueyi was wearing her regular clothes, indicating that she had just finished removing her makeup backstage.
According to her colleague’s testimony, Zhuang Xueyi’s makeup that day was very complicated and time-consuming to remove, so she was much later than other actors.
When she died, Zhuang Xueyi was wearing high heels. The theater stairs were longer than those in a typical home, and she fell from the steps, with the sharp corners hitting her forehead and back of her head, instantly killing her.
The blood that flowed out stained her clothes and the scattered carnations on the ground.
The safety exit had no surveillance and no witnesses. Zhuang Xueyi had a history of low blood sugar, so the incident was quickly classified as an accidental death, and it was Lui Mengying who took care of her mother’s affairs.
Su Hui stared at the scene photos displayed on the computer, then squinted at the white carnations beneath Zhuang Xueyi’s body.
Qiao Ze raised his head and said, “Someone said that after Zhuang Xueyi finished her performance, she went backstage and no one saw her after she changed her clothes.”
Lu Junchi concluded, “She must have encountered someone, otherwise there is no explanation for the origin of this bouquet of flowers. What are the results of the autopsy and on-site investigation?”
“The forensic autopsy indicated that the cause of death was due to falling injuries, and her little finger was stained with some ink marks, probably just after she had signed something for someone. There were no footprints or relevant information left at the scene. Because she had low blood sugar, the forensic doctor judged that she may have fainted due to low blood sugar and fell. But now there are some doubts. Oh, and…”
Qiao Ze scrolled down the computer file and said, “Lui Mengying was at a friend’s house that night and has an alibi.”
Lu Junchi frowned and said, “It’s very likely that this was not an accident, but a deliberate murder. The killer’s method was quite clever, pretending to be Zhuang Xueyi’s admirer, sending her a large bouquet of flowers and having her sign it, but taking advantage of the lack of other people around, pushed Zhuang Xueyi down the stairs while she was wearing high heels.”
At that time, Zhuang Xueyi was caught off guard as she was holding the flowers.
The killer was able to lead her away from the crowd, probably someone familiar with the backstage, or perhaps someone who had been guided by someone else.
The police had previously conducted relevant inquiries and investigations, but they did not find any irreconcilable conflicts between Zhuang Xueyi and anyone else in the theater.
If this was not an accident but a murder, then what was the killer’s motive?
Lui Mengying seems to be a beneficiary of this case, so is her mother’s death related to her? And who could the killer be?
Lu Junchi stared at the several death photos of Zhuang Xueyi. Suddenly, he saw the bouquet of flowers under her body. It was wrapped in pink paper with some bloodstains and numbers that were possibly the phone number of a flower shop.
“Qiao Ze, try to extract the information on the flower bouquet wrapping paper and see which flower shop sold these flowers. Then, we can ask the flower shop and see if we can find the buyer,” he said, then looked at something on the ground and asked, “What’s this?”
“A pen, suspected to be the victim’s. However, in the later analysis, besides the victim’s fingerprints, two incomplete fingerprints were found on it,” Qiao Ze checked the information and said.
“Why wasn’t this important evidence valued?” frowned Lu Junchi.
“A pen is too common, and it’s possible to pick up the wrong one. Moreover, the two fingerprints are incomplete and only can be determined to not match the victim’s fingerprints. They cannot even be used for suspect comparison,” Qiao Ze explained. “Maybe at that time, the police officers in the sub-bureau thought it was an accident.”
“Anyway, there are still doubts about this case. Let’s continue to investigate,” said Lu Junchi after looking at the evidence.
Just then, someone knocked on the glass door of the serious crime team. Lu Junchi stood up and saw that it was Xing Yunhai, the captain of the criminal investigation team.
Lu Junchi walked over to greet him and patted Su Hui as he passed by. Then he gestured to Qiao Ze to come along.
The team members were worried an hour ago that no one would respond to the joint investigation declaration, but they did not expect someone to come so quickly.
Xing Yunhai greeted everyone and Lu Junchi asked, “Xing Team, do you have any clues?”
“I saw the joint investigation statement issued by the serious crime team and thought of the case I had on hand. This case is a disguised homicide that has not yet found the killer, so I delayed it and didn’t close the case,” Xing Yunhai said.
Before this, Xing Yunhai always felt that there was something strange about the carbon killing case. Today, after seeing that email, he felt that it might be related, so he came to the serious crime team in person.
Lu Junchi brought Xing Yunhai to the small conference room on the side. Xing Yunhai opened the file, “The incident happened a few days ago. A woman came back from a business trip and found her husband burned to death on the bed in the bedroom.”
Su Hui also looked down at the crime scene photos on the table. After a few seconds, he whispered, “It’s a murder.”
Previously, he did not find any more clues about Zhuang Xueyi’s case. However, the case in front of him had more obvious loopholes.
Xing Yunhai did not expect Su Hui to make a judgment so quickly. He also vaguely felt that there was a problem after conducting an on-site investigation and questioning. Unable to help himself, he asked, “How did you see it?”
Su Hui lowered his head and calmly said, “First of all, the scene was too clean. It’s not that easy to burn a charcoal basin, ignite the wax, the packaging bag of the carbon, etc. These should all have traces at the scene.”
Xing Yunhai nodded repeatedly, “The scene was too clean, and they didn’t find any other ignition devices. It is indeed unreasonable.”
Su Hui flipped through several other photos of the deceased with her slender fingers and said, “Secondly, there were flies. This small charcoal stove was placed in the bedroom, and the room must be completely airtight to be fatal. So many flies indicate that someone came to the scene after the victim’s death was confirmed. Because they were afraid of carbon monoxide poisoning, they opened the door but forgot to close it. The killer was very nervous and probably not experienced.”
Xing Yunhai nodded, “Professor Su’s analysis is very reasonable. I also confirmed that someone had entered the room after the appearance of the flies.”
Lu Junchi pointed to the autopsy report on the file and added, “A small amount of sleeping pill ingredients were found in the victim’s blood. It is likely that the victim fell asleep after taking sleeping pills, and then someone entered the room and placed the charcoal stove…”
He looked at the photos again and said, “The charcoal stove is easy to make noise. The killer needs to be familiar with the environment and know the direction of the bedroom… They are either someone familiar or someone who has been to the scene before.”
Xing Yunhai said: “In addition, I also found that the deceased had neurasthenia, but his wife had put a bag of tea that was mostly used up and some coffee in the kitchen. I suspect she added something that affects sleep to some food, with the aim of exacerbating her husband’s insomnia and making him go to the doctor to prescribe sleeping pills, leading to dependence on the medication, so that he would not be alarmed when the charcoal basin was set up.”
Lu Junchi frowned and said, “So, this murder case may have been planned for a long time? It sounds like the wife has a big suspicion.”
Xing Yunhai nodded in agreement and said, “There were no fingerprints or footprints left at the scene, and the murderer sneaked in at night. I also visited the object of the husband’s affair and ruled out suspicion. Currently, the wife has the biggest suspicion. The husband had an affair and refused to divorce, which could have formed a motive for murder. However, during this period, the wife had a sufficient alibi, and although her testimony had some loopholes, there was no clear evidence. I tried to find traces of hiring a killer from her daily contacts, but I have not found a breakthrough…”
Lu Junchi looked at the name of the wife and ran his finger over it, saying, “Gu Ruoru, this name seems familiar.”
He got up and took the summary table he had just been looking at, and indeed found the same name on it.
“According to Liumengying’s confession last night, the sleeper contacted her…”
In the course of the investigation, they found more direct connections between the Sleeper Forum and the death case…
Xing Yunhai asked, “Is this woman related to your related case?”
Lu Junchi answered conservatively, “It has not been completely determined yet, but I think this connection should not be accidental.”
Someone spoke next to him, and Su Hui was a little distracted, vaguely hearing that Lu Junchi was introducing the progress of the case on this side to Xing Yunhai.
In this case, Gu Ruoru undoubtedly had a motive for killing her husband.
The perpetrator may have been cleverly hidden, and Xing Yunhai’s investigation of this case has been limited to normal contacts and social relationships.
But think about it, if it was a stranger who seemed to have no connection with her, who went to kill her husband, this type of killing would undoubtedly bring great difficulty to the police’s investigation work.
Su Hui sat aside, looking at the table and the files in front of him. The documents appeared blurry in his eyes, but all the details suddenly came back to his mind.
They had just found the direction of the case. The cases seemed to extend like a straight line towards both ends.
Was Zhuang Xueyi’s death the first case they needed to investigate, and was Pang Qinghua’s death the most recent and final one?
There was no doubt that the two cases had similarities, but they were also different from the cases they had encountered before.
Lu Junchi and Qiao Ze began discussing the similarities between the cases and whether there was a common killer. However, from the details of the cases, they felt that there were many differences.
Qiao Ze walked to the whiteboard and organized the known relationships between the people involved in the cases. The resulting clues were complex and tangled.
From a distance, Su Hui could only see a tangled mess of lines.
Suddenly, he remembered what Liu Mengying had said to him before…
She repeatedly emphasized the word “help.”
She wanted to provide him with “help.”
As a true depressive patient, what help did he need?
Su Hui coughed a few times. He thought that at some point in the past, Liu Mengying might have met this Gu Ruoru, and perhaps said the same thing to her…
A ringing sound suddenly came from his deaf left ear, catching him off guard. Su Hui couldn’t help but put his hand to his ear, enduring the discomfort. He spoke, “I seem to have some understanding, but I still need more evidence to confirm it.”