As they were leaving the forensic lab, Lin Qiupu asked Lin Dongxue, "What do you think of this case?"
Lin Dongxue thought for a second and said, "Captain Peng stated that all of the jewelry on the female victim was gone. It makes me wonder if it was a couple that committed double-suicide. The girl died first and as the man was preparing to commit suicide, a third-party entered the scene. The man and the third-party had a dispute before the mystery person killed the man and stole all of the girl’s jewelry. The individual also took their cellphones and disfigured their faces using a rock."
"A couple? I don't think so! I think this case is a revenge killing, but after the murderer killed the two, the bodies were abandoned in the mountains, and the killer arranged it to look like a double-suicide."
"Brother, did you already forget the traces of a struggle that were found at the scene?"
Lin Qiupu was speechless for a moment. "If what you say is true, they didn’t abandon the body; the crime may have been committed in the cave.”
"Three people appearing in the cave at the same time? There is a good chance that the two deceased were related."
"Not necessarily. Their time of death was quite far apart, and the contents of their stomachs are different. The possibility of them being a couple is very low. I think that they were simply two unrelated strangers."
"If it’s as you said, did the murderer kill the girl first, and then remain in the cave to kill a second person?"
Lin Qiupu also did not understand and bitterly smiled. "The longer this conversation goes on, the more confused we’ll get. We should investigate more first!"
Contrary to their mentally taxing debate, their next act was physically draining. The task force walked through each suburb to collect the most recent missing person reports. They selected the people who best fit their specifications and then proceeded to visit the families for questioning.
This process alone took three days, with Peng Sijue making notable progress on his end. From analyzing the jewel particles left on the female corpse, he found that the jewels were all pure, solid gold. Skull reconstruction allowed Peng Sijue to see what the female looked like when she was alive. From the construction, it could be assumed that she had a decent appearance and a set of elegant teeth. When these two clues were shown in the forensic team’s analysis, everyone immediately concluded that there was around an 80% chance that this was the heiress to a wealthy family.
The reconstructed picture of the male victim could only be described as ordinary. Peng Sijue found that the deceased had symptoms of lumbar muscle strains when he did further autopsy testing. In addition, when compared with the ash sample brought by Chen Shi last time, it was found that the male deceased usually smoked five yuan cigarettes.
With this revelation, the faceless man was transformed into a poor man who loved hiking in everyone's mind.
Peng Sijue also mentioned that the drug in the female’s body was identified to be succinylcholine, a musculoskeletal relaxant. Its clinical use was for local anesthesia, which can cause bradycardia, arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, etc. If too much is administered, the bronchial muscles can constrict, resulting in bronchospasm. It can also cause anaphylactic shock. The amount of succinylcholine given to the female was a lethal dose."
"Is this medicine easy for ordinary people to acquire?" Lin Qiupu asked.
Peng Sijue shook his head. "I’m not too sure."
Lin Qiupu ordered his officers to source the origins of the drug and to continue confirming the identity of the deceased using the reconstruction photo.
With the picture, their work efficiency was markedly improved. On the same day, they confirmed the identity of the female victim. Her name was Jiang Mei. She was born in 1997 and was a recently graduated college student majoring in financial management. She had just graduated a year ago and had not been employed yet.
Jiang Mei’s father was the president of a bank, so it was now undeniable that she was the heiress of a wealthy family.
A call from the bureau brought Jiang Mei’s parents over. When they saw the girl’s unrecognizable face and body, the old couple couldn’t stop crying. Lin Dongxue, who was responsible for receiving the family of the deceased, could only attempt to ease the couple’s sorrow.
Jiang Mei’s mother sobbed and blurted out, “It’s all our fault! We shouldn’t have forced her!”
Jiang Mei’s father suddenly became enraged, “It’s all that kid’s fault! If I had known this would happen, I wouldn’t have let our daughter acquaint herself with him!”
Lin Dongxue asked, "Do you mean Jiang Mei and boyfriend? Can you describe their relationship in detail?"
Lin Dongxue invited them to a conference room and poured them a cup of tea. Jiang Mei’s mother was consumed with grief. Jiang Mei’s father explained that their daughter had begun talking to a destitute boy named Cheng Chao while in school. The situation was hidden from them the entire time. Later, after she graduated, her father had planned to introduce his classmate's son to her. The two not only had compatible backgrounds but also looked very good together.
After meeting each other, the other side had a good impression of Jiang Mei. However, Jiang Mei said that she had no interest in him. Her parents asked her if she already had a boyfriend. After some questioning, she admitted that she had a boyfriend named Cheng Chao.
Her parents then invited Cheng Chao over to their house for dinner. At first glance, they couldn’t look at the poor boy without disdain. He didn’t have any manners. He kept saying that he would work hard in the future for Jiang Mei, but her father sneered at him the entire time. He wondered how he could ever give this needy boy the daughter he worked so hard to raise.
That evening, the father and daughter had a massive fight. Her father prohibited the daughter from meeting with the impoverished boy again, but Jiang Mei obviously wouldn’t agree with this and shut herself off.
This incident made the family’s relationship very stiff and tense. Relatives and friends came over to persuade Jiang Mei, but she refused to listen to what anyone said. Her father cut her off financially and prohibited her from going out, but she often snuck out to meet with the boy. The family desperately chased and blocked her, almost as if it were guerrilla warfare.
The possibility that Jiang Mei would disappear overnight never crossed their minds. They thought the boy took her and eloped. They didn't expect that before they could meet again, they were parted by heaven and earth.
"It must be that boy who killed her! It was definitely him! I’m going to sue him until his family collapses!" Jiang Mei’s father said fiercely with a tearful face.
Her mother seized Lin Dongxue’s hand and pleaded, “Officers, officers. We will cooperate fully with the investigation. We must bring the true murderer of our daughter to justice!”
"But..." Lin Dongxue was a little hesitant. Watching the mournful couple, she could not help but say, "In fact, there are two bodies in total. There is another male body, about 25 years old."
The husband and wife looked at each other, and the father wondered, "Did Xiao Mei really commit suicide with this penniless boy?"
"Why?! Why did you leave us? You are not a filial daughter!" The mother hit the table as she cried.
"You still remember what Cheng Chao looked like, right? Can you identify him?"
The couple agreed to go to the forensics department. The technicians showed them the 3D recovery map of the male victim’s face, and the two of them stared at it for a long time. Finally, the father said, "There are neither hair nor eyebrows. I can't recognize him."
"Do you remember his hairstyle? Or the shape of his eyebrows?"
"Brows... ordinary kind; hairstyle, I remember that his scalp was revealed at the sides of his head and the top of his forehead..." When he thought about this, the father showed a disgusted expression, "I just can’t see eye-to-eye with this unconventional young man.”
The technicians operated the computer, and after adding the hair, the father exclaimed, "Yes, that is him! I still remember his face! I really don't know why Xiao Mei picked him!"
The mother disagreed and replied, "No, no. The nose is wrong."
Lin Dongxue explained, "The face of the deceased has been destroyed. The bridge of the nose is made up of cartilage, so it may not have been reconstructed too well digitally."
The technician modified the nose, raising and lowering it, but the mother still shook her head. “The eyes are not the same, either.”
The father insisted, "I remember this ugly mug clearly."
"No, this is definitely not it." The mother remained unconvinced.
1. The actual phrase is separating Mandarin Ducks. In Chinese culture, these ducks are believed to be lifelong couples, unlike the other species of ducks. Hence they are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity, and are frequently featured in Chinese art.