Volume 25: A Ray of Light Amongst Darkness
When Lin Qiupu, Peng Sijue, Lin Dongxue, and the others arrived, Chen Shi sat on the stairs and said, "Hey, it's that door. The key is here!"
He threw the key over and Lin Qiupu said, full of suspicion, "Why are you here?"
"I'll tell you later."
Everyone entered the room, and saw a messy living room with old blood stains on the ground. Knife marks on the overturned coffee table could be seen and their police instincts told them that a case must have happened here. Lin Qiupu asked, "Where’s the body?"
"In the refrigerator. I promise you’ll be shocked!" Chen Shi walked in from behind.
They opened the refrigerator and saw the corpse hidden inside. They couldn't help but inhale sharply. The shelf dividing the lower part of the refrigerator had been removed. The corpse was stuffed inside like a contortionist, and the victim’s expression was one of shock under a layer of frost.
It was a man. From his build, he shouldn’t have been able to be stuffed inside. However, the murderer had done some "trimming" and chopped through the cartilage of several of his joints. His legs were folded over his shoulders from the back and his hands were folded backwards, hugging his legs.
The white shirt, which was blood-stained, had been frozen solid.
Peng Sijue put on his gloves and touched the body. "It looks like he's been dead for a long time. He’s frozen solid. Turn the power off first!"
Chen Shi said, "I feel that the killer is very pragmatic. After he killed him, he didn’t show off at all. He stuffed the corpse into the refrigerator. It wouldn’t have rotted, and there wouldn’t be a smell. No one would find it for as long as ten days to half a month."
"How did you find out then?!" Lin Qiupu stood up and questioned him.
Chen Shi showed him the text message, and Lin Qiupu was even more puzzled. "Detective Chen, you’re now very well-known. Someone didn’t call us but contacted you directly?"
"The person who reported the case is a thief." Chen Shi pulled out a beauty salon leaflet. "This is what I found on the doors of several households. I called the number on it, but the number wasn’t in use. This is the usual trick used by thieves. They’ll bring in a stack of fake leaflets to figure out which house is empty. They stick them on the doors and when there’s a house that hasn’t torn it off after a few days, it means that there’s no one in that house... He should have broken into the house, figured out that something was wrong, then contacted me. "
Having said that, Chen Shi had already guessed who the "good citizen" was, but he was afraid of Lin Qiupu's questioning and raised his voice deliberately, "I already told all of you not to make my number public! It has had a great impact on my life!"
"Who disclosed your number?" Lin Qiupu asked in return.
"It must be one of you who unintentionally revealed it... Haii, I won’t look into this matter further. Whoever reported it to the police is not the main point; the main point is how this person died."
Lin Qiupu truly thought that the responsibility was on his side and instructed everyone, "Don’t disclose the personal numbers of our colleagues publicly!"
Peng Sijue walked out of the bathroom and said, "There’s something here."
When they walked into the narrow bathroom, they saw a tub full of blood in the bathtub. The smell of blood was no longer very heavy. Peng Sijue took a clothes-drying pole and fished out a piece of cloth with it. "The killer should have dealt with the body here and then filled the bathtub with water to dilute the smell of blood. Also, he didn’t drain the water away."
"Lest it be discovered by the neighbors? Very clever." Chen Shi opened the toilet’s cover to have a look. He smelled a strong odor of disinfectant. An empty bottle of 84 had been discarded beside it. It seemed that the killer had also disposed of something in the toilet and then disinfected it with 84.
The deceased had been dead for a long time. It may have been more than seven days. The surveillance footage from the housing district had long been written over, but Lin Qiupu still took Lin Dongxue over to the property management to check the footage.
While waiting for the corpse to defrost, the forensic police began to investigate the scene and obtain samples. Small handprints were found on the coffee table, sofa, and door, but there weren’t any fingerprints found. Peng Sijue judged from experience, "The murderer had covered up his fingerprints with glue. It seems that he had entered with the intention to kill."
"Doesn’t this size look like a woman's handprint?" Chen Shi used his own hand to compare. "It's a bit weird. Why did she touch everything after coming in?"
The ID and driver's license of the deceased were found inside the bedside cabinet in the bedroom. The deceased's name was Wang Dong. 33 years old, single, and the mid-level manager in a company.
The deceased's mobile phone was found under the bed, and it was out of power. After plugging it into the charger, it turned on without a problem. There were a lot of missed calls and text messages. They were mainly from the people at his company asking why he hadn’t been coming to work. Chen Shi took a look at the time stamps. The incoming calls mostly came in around three days ago.
The date gave Chen Shi a little confidence, and he asked Peng Sijue, "Did he die three days ago?"
"You’re asking me? It’s hard for me to judge the exact time of death with frozen corpses." Peng Sijue replied.
"Judging from the deterioration of the bloodstains, the time of death was over seven days ago... Contact the local police station to see if there’s a missing persons report out for him." Peng Sijue’s second sentence was directed at another police officer.
There was a bag of hawthorn berries soaking in the kitchen sink. The hawthorn berries had mostly decomposed and crumbled easily at the touch. The food waste in the trash can beside it also smelled rotten. Moreover, it was summer, and there were already worms inside.
Half an hour later, the corpse had thawed to the point where the joints could be moved freely. Peng Sijue checked it and noted, "The cartilage cuts were injuries sustained after death. There’s a stab wound in the chest... Turn it over!"
Chen Shi helped to turn the body over, and the back of the deceased was terrible to look at. There were a lot of wounds on it.
Peng Sijue cut the deceased's shirt off with scissors and put it into the evidence bag. Chen Shi said, "It seems like the knife wounds weren’t left by a single person."
"But there was no trace of a third person at the scene."
On the back, there were three deep cuts. In addition, there were a lot of scratches. Chen Shi said, "The weapon! The weapon!"
He went to the kitchen. The knives there were all tested with luminol. There wasn’t any blood on them. The weapon shouldn’t have been one of them. Chen Shi took the entire knife holder to the living room and compared each knife with the wounds to find one of a similar size. He found a fruit knife of a similar size.
He held the knife and imitated the killer, saying, "Strange. It doesn't look like she was venting her anger. It actually looks as though the killer was drunk." He swung the knife back and forth, "Like this, wildly hacking like this!"
"The weapon is double-edged. Otherwise, she would have had to twist her wrist 90 degrees to leave the wounds here and here. It would have been too unnatural.”
Chen Shi muttered and put forward a hypothesis, "Old Peng, do you think the killer had poor eyesight?"
"When she entered, she touched everything. When she wanted to stab the victim again after she had stabbed him in the chest, she didn’t seem to be able to gauge space and distance accurately. It would make sense if she had poor eyesight.”
"It makes sense, but I don't quite agree with one part. Maybe the back was stabbed first, and the fatal stab in the chest was the last stab... We’ll talk about this after the autopsy."
While preparing to bag the corpse, Chen Shi found out that the mouth of the victim had been open the entire time. He asked them to wait and put his hand inside the mouth. He was actually able to retrieve a hawthorn berry from the victim’s throat. Because it had been kept in the refrigerator, the berry had not deteriorated.