Chapter 388: Corpse By The Road

Even after leaving the prison, I was enveloped by an air of despair. Xiaotao nudged me, "Still thinking about it?"

I nodded, "The organization wanted the Imitator’s ability, which means that they intend to frame someone. I’m afraid they’ll get started soon. Xiaotao, from now on, no matter where we go, even if it’s just to buy a bottle of water, we should remember to ask for a receipt and try not to be alone so we can produce an alibi in the event of a worse-case scenario. Also, framing an officer is all about your gun. You must make sure to keep it well!"

"Don't worry, I’m most cautious in this respect!" Xiaotao patted her waist.

"Don’t be so hasty. Do you often take your gun home? From now on, every day after work, you must return it to the storage and take it out when you need it," I cautioned.

"Alright, I got it!" Xiaotao nodded obediently like a child who had been just criticized. "You should be more careful yourself!"

"I'm fine,” I dismissed. “But you must pay special attention to everything. Although I'm familiar with the police, I'm actually just borrowing the glorious name of the bureau to intimidate others. If I’m framed, you can uphold justice for me. But if something happens to you, I’d be lost. You’re more important than I am!"

Xiaotao smiled and stretched out her arms to pull me into a tight embrace.

At about midnight the next day, I received a call from Xiaotao. "Song Yang, there’s a case. Would you like to come and have a look?"

I asked for the location and told her I would go over at once. Then, I rushed downstairs, hailed a cab and headed to the crime scene. When I got there, I noticed the crime had happened a few meters away from the road. There were several abandoned cement pipes stacked on one side and a female corpse lying naked. A male corpse lay in the grass about three or four meters away, dressed in pants and naked from the waist up.

Xiaotao walked over and explained, "We just received a report. The man who called it in was a passing hawker."

I nodded, put on rubber gloves and started examining the male victim. He was in his early thirties, with a slim figure and about 1.75 meters tall. His body was covered with bruises and showed obvious bone fractures.

"He was killed after being hit by a car!" I frowned.

Xiaotao looked surprised, "You can tell without touching the body?"

"Look,” I pointed. “Both tibia are broken, forming a false joint. The injury corresponds to the height where a car usually impacts. There are many bruises and scratches on the body, all in the same direction. It was obviously left by crashing and rolling on the ground. These are all consistent with the characteristics of being hit by a car."

"So it was a hit-and-run!" exclaimed Xiaotao.

"Now don't rush to any conclusions,” I said, shaking my head. “Let me take a closer look first."

Upon closer inspection, I found that the victim’s eyes were bloodshot due to the severe impact, and the cornea had fallen off. The victim’s nose bridge was broken, his gums loose, with five or six teeth missing. I touched his arm and neck, only to find that rigor mortis hadn’t yet set in. So I grabbed a thermometer to measure intestinal temperature.

Although the victim’s body had cooled, there was still a little heat in his intestines–about ten degrees. "This man has just died, and the death time is about two hours," I analyzed.

Grabbing the Echolocation Rod, I began to listen to his internal organs. There was a large amount of blood accumulated in the abdominal cavity. The victim’s diaphragm was broken so the internal bleeding headed straight down and accumulated in the abdominal cavity that had a larger space.

The direct cause of death of the victim was the huge impact to the skull. He had almost no intact internal organs, more than a dozen broken ribs and two fractures in the spine.

There were abnormalities in the lungs, but due to the severe damage of the internal organs, I was temporarily unable to judge if they were caused before or during the impact. 

While I was listening, I noticed tiny white particles on the victim’s skin. I swiped some with my finger and sniffed, "It's sweat!"

"Sweat?" asked Xiaotao.

"The victim sweat quite a fair bit before death. There are even small particles of salt from his body condensed on the skin after perspiration,” I explained. “In fact, the amount of perspiration is quite amazing. He must have been soaked from head to toe, almost as if he were submerged in sweat."

I emptied the victim’s pockets and found nothing except a few black hairs which I placed in an evidence bag and handed to Xiaotao.

Then, using a pair of scissors, I cut the victim’s trousers. The sweat stains on the victim’s underwear hadn’t completely dried. It was right then that I noticed something strange. The fracture of the tibia was in the opposite direction, that is, the car hit him from behind.

While I stared at the empty road, Xiaotao seemed to recall something. "There aren’t any cars on this road because a newer one has just been built. No one uses this old road so the municipal government is preparing to demolish it."

"When the victim was hit, it was about ten in the evening. Two hours is barely enough time to dispose of a body,” I surmised. “I think the crime happened on this road and the victim was hit from behind. It doesn’t look like a simple hit-and-run!"

I pointed to the victim’s body, "The bruises are extremely severe, indicating the victim didn’t have the protection of clothes at the time. He must’ve been half-naked like this."

"Half-naked?" 

"Yes, and he was running and sweating profusely!” I said, squeezing the victim’s leg muscles. “The serious overdraft of physical strength caused strains in the lungs."

"Lung strain?" Xiaotao blinked in confusion.

"If you overexercise, your lung muscles will be strained. The condition is commonly known as dyspnea. The average person will stop immediately once they feel short of breath yet the victim desperately persisted so the strain is quite serious."

Suddenly noticing something, Xiaotao cried, "Oh look! The victim’s feet!"

As my gaze shifted downwards, I found that the victim’s soles were covered in blood and mud, and a layer of skin was almost entirely stripped. "The deceased ran barefoot on the road,” I deduced. “From his figure, my guess is he doesn’t usually exercise. This has greatly exceeded his limit. Perhaps he was being chased by something... Yes, a car!"

"You mean, a car was chasing the victim. And when he could no longer run, whoever was driving the car killed him," speculated Xiaotao.

"That’s my guess as well!" I concurred.

I grabbed a bottle of alcohol and wiped away the dirt and blood on the victim’s torso with a cotton swab, revealing his injuries. In the dark, Xiaotao found it hard to see clearly. "Should we get a light?" suggested Xiaotao.

"No, I can see perfectly..." I trailed off because I immediately realized that she couldn't see at all. 

"Yes, get a light!" I said.

Xiaotao got an officer to bring us a lighting device which she placed beside us. Under the strong glare of the light, the victim’s skin looked pale. That solemn, grim face seemed full of fear and resentment, as if he was unresigned with the cruel fate.

"These wounds weren’t caused by the car, especially here,” I pointed to the wounds on the side of his chest. “It’s obviously a shoe print, a soccer shoe with spikes in the sole."

After staring at the victim’s chest for some time, Xiaotao nodded.

Upon further examination, I found more than one such injury, though the shoe prints were in different directions. "More than one person attacked the victim! There were four people wearing different shoes."

"It’s a criminal gang?" Xiaotao gaped.

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