The document showed no trace of gastric acid corrosion, suggesting that it must have been swallowed by the dead man before the accident. However, the paper was thoroughly soaked so pulling it apart by force was out of the question if we wanted to look at the contents on the document.
"So, the dead man suddenly swallows a piece of paper at such a critical juncture,” surmised Xiaotao. “Could this document be very important?"
"Can we recover it?" I asked.
"We’ll have to send it to the Physical Evidence Identification Center,” Xiaotao frowned. “Though with how soaked it is, it’ll probably take them a few days."
I found an evidence bag and instructed Dali to send it over to the Physical Evidence Identification Center which was the white building next to the city bureau.
Then, I proceeded to examine the burnt body. The man was close to thirty years old. Although the body had been burnt to this point, the fact that the deceased paid great attention to his appearance before his death was apparent from his neatly trimmed fingernails and sinewy figure that showed muscle symmetry. His toned torso was accompanied by the Adonis belt which could only be achieved by long-term, consistent exercise.
I opened the dead man's mouth and looked inside. There were no traces of ashes in his mouth and nose, indicating that the corpse had been burned after death. His entire body had been charred black and his clothes had melted into his flesh. I leaned in and caught a whiff of gasoline, and then used the Echolocation Rod.
"What have you found?" interrupted Xiaotao.
"The murderer seems to harbor a deep hatred for the deceased. He was stabbed sixteen times in the chest and his internal organs were all smashed."
"That bad?" Xiaotao asked in disbelief.
I used the tweezers to pick at the wound and pointed with the Echolocation Rod. "The murderer’s technique isn’t professional as indicated by the angle of the stab wounds. The murderer held the knife upright while a professional would use the opposite direction, pushing the thumb against the end of the hilt which uses the least effort."
Incineration was the best way to destroy evidence so we couldn’t find the murderer’s fingerprints and hair. I searched carefully for clues and found that the dead man's lips appeared slightly abnormal. After examining them repeatedly for some time, I finally concluded, "There are bite marks on his lips!"
Xiaotao leaned in and asked, "Where?"
I pointed with the tweezers, indicating the location on the upper and lower lips which both showed bite marks. It seemed that the murderer had forcefully bitten… no, kissed the dead man!
By the looks of the wound, it was a kiss that contained contradictory emotions, both love and hate. I could almost imagine the scene at the time.
"That’s great!” cried Xiaotao. “I'll ask Xiao Zhou to create a dental model and compare it to the dental records of the suspect. But isn't the deceased a man? Why would two men kiss each other?"
"You’re not a fan of Yi Xi, are you?" I laughed.
Xiaotao shook her head, “No, why?"
"I was afraid you might hit me if I tell you the rumors I heard,” I said, lowering my voice mysteriously. I heard that Yi Xi might be gay."
Xiaotao stared in wide-eyed shock. "Really?!"
"You don't normally pay attention to entertainment news, do you?” I chuckled. “This sort of gossip has been published several times but his agency has refuted the rumors each time so Yi Xi's sexual orientation has remained a mystery."
"The man does have an effeminate temperament,” said Xiaotao. “That was the first impression he gave me."
The murder seemed connected to love and hatred. I was suddenly struck by a thought and immediately checked the dead man’s lower body. Although I might have predicted it, I was shocked to see that the dead man was missing a penis.
I asked Xiaotao for some rubbing alcohol and wet the area, carefully lifting the clothes attached to it. The sight that greeted my eyes had me drawing a sharp intake of breath.
The victim's penis had been removed from the base where a bite mark was clearly visible. I checked the wound and confirmed that it was bitten off after death.
Xiaotao couldn’t help but purse her lips. "It looks like the murderer hated the deceased. Killing the man wasn’t enough! The murderer even bit off his penis!"
"I once read about a murder case involving the gay community in which a man cut off his lover’s genitals and stuffed them into his anus as a form of retaliation,” I recalled. “To do such a thing must mean that the dead man and the murderer had intimate contact."
Xiaotao mused, "If this matter is disclosed, it will certainly shock the entertainment circle."
I stared at the victim’s crotch in a daze, "We shouldn’t come to a conclusion before getting all our facts right. So far, the evidence we gathered doesn’t point to Yi Xi alone. In fact, I wonder if it could have been done by a woman?"
"Could a woman do something so crazy?" asked Xiaotao.
"You are very rational,” I remarked. “But it doesn't mean that all women are the same."
"Do you really think I’m rational?” laughed Xiaotao. “To be honest, I think I’m very impulsive. Does that mean I should be more willful in front of you?"
I merely smiled and went on with the autopsy. After a series of routine examinations, I suddenly let out a shout.
"Did you find something?" Xiaotao asked curiously.
I clapped my hands with delight. "Oh my God! How could I have missed such a huge contradiction?!"
"What is it?" urged Xiaotao.
The deceased's clothes were in good condition, especially the pants and the neatly buttoned waistband. The murder involved strong personal emotions so it didn’t make any sense for the murderer to have vented his hatred by killing the victim and then neatly dressing them. The two acts were contradictory!
In my experience, any contradictory aspects that couldn’t be explained often manifested as a major breakthrough point of a case.
Since the autopsy was temporarily concluded, Xiaotao called Xiao Zhou in to build the dental model. As soon as we left the morgue, a bunch of people approached in our direction, led by a middle-aged man in a suit and tie. His hair was neatly combed, and he was wearing a pair of glasses, giving him a rather refined temperament.
My first impression of the man led me to assume he was from Yi Xi’s agency but Xiaotao whispered in my ear, "This is Director-General Cheng."
Sun Tiger was currently on a business trip elsewhere, so at present, Director-General Cheng was fully responsible for the bureau’s affairs. His presence here showed that the higher-ups attached great importance to this case. Director-General Cheng walked towards me and shook my hand. "So you’re the Great Detective Song,” he said. “I've heard a lot about you."
"I’m sure they’re all exaggerations,” I replied. “May I ask why you’re here?"
"Due to the public’s concern with the case and their strong opinions on it, my superiors have asked me to personally supervise the investigation. What’s the progress so far?" asked Director-General Cheng.
Xiaotao briefly reported our findings and explained that we were just about to interrogate the suspect, to which Director-General Cheng nodded. "Don't let his identity pressure you! Whether he’s a star or an idol, he’s merely an ordinary criminal suspect in this building. I’ll deal with the reporters. All you have to do is concentrate on solving the case."
Outside the interrogation room, we met a bewildered Dali who was surprised to see so many people.
Through the one-sided glass of the interrogation room, I saw two people sitting inside. One was Yi Xi, looking arrogant and unconcerned in his cap and sunglasses. I had to admit the man looked better in person–dashing and handsome with radiant, clear skin, he looked gorgeous from every angle. The other man was his lawyer, dressed in a suit with his hair combed back.
Upon seeing our suspect, Dali was so excited he even asked if I would get him an autograph. I rolled my eyes, exasperated by the idiot. "You’re not even his fan!"
"Why does that matter?” cried Dali. “Wouldn’t you be excited if you saw Andy Lau? Isn't it normal to ask for a signature?"
Xiaotao cleared her throat and announced, "Let me make this clear before we go in. You’re not allowed to ask for his autograph or gush about how much you admire him. Most importantly, you’re forbidden from asking him about any gossip!"
"Don't worry!” I assured her. “He’s no more special to me than Mr. Tang or Professor Li."Previous Chapter Next Chapter