Criminal Investigation Notes
Criminal Investigation Notes: Chapter 81

It is currently the interval period during the live broadcast, but the police dare not rest. They remain vigilant at all times, ready to respond to the start of the next broadcast.

Based on the locations of the two previous murders, the police have begun to speculate on the possible area for the third live stream.

With the experience from the previous two incidents, the police have prepared an ample workforce before the start of this live stream, ready to conduct various investigations at any time.

Only by being fast enough can they reach the killer before him and prevent the tragedy from happening.

Lu Junchi has been in contact with various parties, busy making arrangements and deployments.

If it were someone else, they might be overwhelmed by such a fast-paced flow of information. But Lu’s logical thinking allows him to quickly organize the relationships between different aspects, synthesize various clues, and make the right decisions rapidly under high pressure.

Qu Ming has already contacted Wanhu High School and obtained a list of students who haven’t returned home. He quickly reported, “Captain Lu, we have contacted all the teachers and made phone calls one by one to inquire about the students’ whereabouts. Currently, there are 35 students who haven’t returned home. We have made repeated attempts to contact them, but either their parents can’t be reached, or the children themselves are unreachable. Some parents mentioned that their children often come home late.”

“Also, the principal said they had just finished a group activity in the morning, so most of the students were wearing their school uniforms.”

These 35 individuals are unlikely to be all kidnapped. Among the names on the list, there are potential victims, but some may be temporarily out of contact.

Most of the students in Wanhu City come from impoverished backgrounds, and their parents are often busy working, many of whom are out of town. After school, the children might go play basketball, visit internet cafes, or even go out together, so it’s difficult for parents to know where their children might be.

The scope has already narrowed down significantly.

The academic records and photos of the 35 children have been sent as well.

Lu Junchi looked at the list sent by Qu Ming. If the next victim is among these names, then what Su Hui said is likely true. This is a hunting plan specifically targeting Wanhu High School students.

The children seem to be sacrificial offerings placed on an altar to fulfill the killer’s objectives and desires.

But why Wanhu High School?

And why these children?

People had just taken a moment to catch their breath, but at 9 o’clock in the evening, the live stream room lit up again, and the third live broadcast arrived as scheduled.

Although it’s already late, the number of viewers is still steadily increasing. With the lifting of the internet blockade, the current number of viewers for the live stream has reached 180,000.

This time, the room for the live stream is noticeably different from the previous two.

It’s a slightly messy room with very basic furnishings. There are some black marks on the walls, and the floor seems to have scattered items. It’s a cramped room where someone used to live, but the owner has hurriedly left, leaving many things behind as garbage.

The video paused for a moment and finally focused on a teenage boy. He appears to be in his early teens, tall in stature, with short hair. He is also wearing the uniform of Wanhu High School. His eyes are covered, and his hands and feet are bound. Around his neck, there is a thick rope tied, with the other end fastened to the curtain rod in the room.

In the camera’s view, people can see a dark red birthmark on his forehead.

At this moment, the boy is sitting on a chair, and the rope around his neck is loosely hanging, but if the host manipulates it, it can be tightened immediately.

It is evident that the execution method has changed once again.

Due to the increase in the number of people in the live stream room, the comments are refreshing at a faster rate. Some comments flash by so quickly that they are almost unreadable.

“This is too cruel! It has already killed two people in a row…”

“Why don’t they stop the live stream?”

“Is this one going to be hanged?”

The voice of the host, altered by a voice changer, resonates once again, “Hello, everyone. This is already the third live stream tonight. As always, I will reveal a name, and you have to find out the wicked things he has done. And this time, I want to elevate our game. You need to make that man stand in front of the camera, face more than ten media outlets, and publicly admit his crimes.”

“Publicly admit his crimes? Isn’t that like confessing? Who would be so foolish?”

“Is this to force the police to find evidence and locate the person?”

“How many more people does he intend to kill?”

“…Now, it’s time to announce the person’s crimes.” As the host speaks, a hand reaches out from the screen and hangs a piece of paper with a name in front of the teenager.

“Na Xuehai, 45 years old, owner of Huadu Sincere Building Materials Company. Now, you have one hour to discover what he has done and make him publicly apologize in front of more than ten media outlets.”

“I found this person, he is indeed the owner of a building materials company!”

“Just by his appearance, I can tell he’s not a good person.”

“What wicked things could a building materials company owner do? Could it be that there are issues with the materials they sell?”

“Don’t be misled by his identity. Maybe he also kills, sets fires, or lures young girls.”

As the number of viewers increases, the live stream room is flooded with junk messages, and the comments are scrolling rapidly.

Without needing a reminder, Xia Mingxi has already started searching for information on Na Xuehai. “The information on this Na Xuehai is more extensive than the previous two individuals. This boss started his business at the age of 33 and has been selling various construction materials…”

Immediately, Na Xuehai’s information is shared in the group.

As the owner of a building materials company, naturally, there is a lot more information available than an ordinary person.

The registered company address, home address, various tax records, family property transactions—this information is quickly retrieved.

Xia Mingxi says in the group, “I’m summarizing the information available online. Although the number of viewers for the live stream has increased, the amount of useful information has decreased…”

Su Hui replied with a few words, “The bystander effect.”

The bystander effect, also known as diffusion of responsibility, occurs when there are too many people present during an emergency, leading to the diffusion of responsibility and a lack of action.

This theory is equally applicable on the internet.

Now that more people are watching the live stream, the possibility of providing help has decreased while the duration has increased.

There are even some spectators mingling among regular netizens, making inappropriate jokes in the live stream chat.

The hotline in the central bureau occasionally rings, and the police have deployed several operators to answer calls. However, so far, there has been little useful information, and some people are occupying the line and verbally abusing the police for their inaction.

We cannot rely too much on netizens for help; they can only rely on their own investigations and intensify the search efforts.

Lu Junchi made a prompt decision, “Let’s directly call Na Xuehai, and Zheng Bai will take people over to interrogate him.”

The person involved knows best whether there are any criminal facts. As it turns out, although the methods used by the broadcaster are despicable, the first two individuals he exposed were definitely not innocent. At this point, Na Xuehai can no longer pretend to be ignorant.

Su Hui added, “Also, check if he has any connection with Long Xiaochen and Lian Chengyan.”

One is a construction contractor, the other is a demolition thug, and now we have a building materials company owner. There seems to be a hidden connection among these people, but they haven’t connected the dots yet.

Lu Junchi asked Qu Ming, “Has the identity of the victim been confirmed?”

Qu Ming flipped through a few documents and quickly found one to send out, saying, “Professor Su’s prediction is accurate. Based on the birthmark on the forehead and features like hairstyle and height, the victim’s name is Tao Yingxu, a student from Class 5 of Grade 3 at Wanhu No. 1 High School. He told his family that he was going to the library to study in the afternoon and hasn’t returned home since then.”

A photo of Tao Yingxu was sent in the group, along with his detailed information and school records.

The boy in the photo had handsome features and a distinctive red birthmark on his forehead, making him easily recognizable.

“Tao Yingxu has good academic performance and is a class cadre. The emergency contact person listed is his mother, and the teachers speak highly of him…”

Lu Junchi swiftly said, “Qu Ming, the information on the school records is not comprehensive enough. Quickly contact the school to investigate these three victims, compare their routes home, see if they have any common points or if they have been to the same place together. Also, thoroughly examine their personal hobbies, activities they participated in, books they borrowed, their relationships with other students at school, and gather all this information.”

As more time passes, more victims appear, which means they can find common points among the victims. They can then seek out potential connections between them and the perpetrator.

Qu Ming hurriedly responded and communicated with the school. Sweat appeared on his forehead.

In normal circumstances, a case like this, with so many victims, would require officers to conduct interviews one by one, visiting schools, homes, and friends, which would take several days.

But now, with the urgency of the situation, they felt immense pressure.

Su Hui, lost in thought, added, “Even if we have to fulfill the broadcaster’s conditions, we shouldn’t do it too quickly. If it’s too easy for him, he will feel unsatisfied, and his behavior and demands will escalate further…”

Just like last time when the police publicly exposed Lian Chengyan’s crimes, he still submerged Mo Xiuxiu in water and changed the rules of the game.

Lu Junchi nodded, “We must be fully prepared and strive to take the initiative.” He then asked Qiao Ze, “Can we determine the location of this live stream?”

From the background of the video, it can be inferred that this time the live stream location is likely not those unfinished buildings but a chaotic room in an abandoned residential house.

Qiao Ze had just returned to the command vehicle and carefully examined the screenshot.

“From the window part, the height of this window doesn’t seem to be high, so the floor is likely to be on the first or second level… It doesn’t look like a high-rise building.” Then he zoomed in on the background with his finger. “There are some graffiti numbers on the background, crooked and slanted, like something left by a child.”

They had just rescued Mo Xiuxiu, so it’s highly possible that they had just missed the broadcaster. There are no surveillance cameras or much pedestrian traffic in Wanhu City, and if the broadcaster wants to move to a new location that meets the requirements, it may take some time, meaning the location would be closer than they estimated.

Qiao Ze compared it to the map. “If it’s within this area… it’s very likely to be the shantytown in Wanhu City awaiting demolition.”

Although the shantytown has reduced in size, there are still thousands of households living there, crowded in narrow alleys.

Finding a specific room for the live stream is like entering a large maze.

Lu Junchi calmly said, “Have the 5th Division station ten people here to stay behind, and the rest of us quickly move over. Search in different directions. Also, I believe that even if it’s a demolition house or an unfinished building, the location for live streaming must have good internet speed. There aren’t many base stations here, so we can eliminate some areas.”

During their journey, Lu Junchi had already noticed that the signal in the vicinity was not very stable. The killer must have rehearsed in advance and selected areas with good signals for the live stream.

The command vehicle started moving, and Su Hui recalled something and spoke up, “In the previous live stream, I noticed a detail. Although those children had their mouths and eyes covered, they made struggling movements, but something doesn’t seem right…”

Lu Junchi turned to ask, “What is it?”

“I haven’t figured it out clearly yet.” Su Hui shook his head without elaborating. Then he rubbed his forehead. “Also, when Mo Xiuxiu was submerged in water, it seemed like there was something in the water…”

His vision was not very clear, so he took a screenshot and sent it to Lu Junchi after looking at it twice.

Lu Junchi enlarged the image, and indeed, something appeared on the fish tank when the perpetrator pressed Mo Xiuxiu into the water.

It was the silhouette of a girl, wearing the uniform of Wanhu High School, with her hair hanging down, perfectly blocking her face.

“There’s a girl in the footage, unsure if she’s the next victim or connected to the killer…”

This indicates that besides Mo Xiuxiu and the broadcaster, there is a third person present at the scene.

Who is this girl? The case has become increasingly mysterious.

Just as they were discussing this, Su Hui suddenly asked, “Are we close to Wanhu High School?”

Qiao Ze lowered his head and looked, “Ah, yes…”

From a distance, they could already see the buildings of Wanhu High School. The office building in the school was brightly lit, indicating that the teachers had returned to the school due to the unexpected incident.

Su Hui said to Lu Junchi, “Drop me off here. I want to talk to the teachers at the school and see if they know more about the situation.”

All three victims are students from the school, and now a girl in a school uniform has appeared in the footage. All of this is definitely not a coincidence.

Although Qu Ming is connecting with these people online and having phone conversations, it’s likely that it won’t quickly gather useful information in such circumstances.

Lu Junchi weighed the pros and cons, as well as Su Hui’s safety, and hesitated for a moment before saying, “Qiao Ze, you go with Professor Su.”

Su Hui was taken aback and said, “The school should be safe, and the teachers will be there…”

He felt that they were short on police force and hoped that more people would search for the location of the broadcaster.

Lu Junchi insisted, “The clues from the school are also important, and during the investigation, at least two people were present.”

Only then did Su Hui nod without saying anything further.

The car quickly stopped at the entrance of Wanhu High School. A majority of the children from the families living nearby attend this school.

Su Hui got out of the car briskly, leaning on his cane.

Qiao Ze, who had just climbed nearly ten floors, was left behind and limped after him while holding the tablet. “Professor Su, wait for me…”

Watching them leave, the vehicle quickly started again.

Lu Junchi checked the time. It was now 9:15 PM, and there were still forty-five minutes left until the end of the live stream.

EuphoriaT[Translator]

Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.

3 Comments
  1. mikmik has spoken 10 months ago

    The murder is ongoing and lives is at stake BUT HUIHUI MUST BE PROTECTED FIRST! 🥰

    Reply
  2. qyura has spoken 11 months ago

    Thank you for the chapter!

    Reply

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