1:00 pm, a private room in a hotpot restaurant located in Gao Lanqi.
“It’s best not to eat so much mutton with your injuries!” Miao Ying nagged Zhao Yu. She held a bunch of information she received from forensics.
“Are you kidding? It’s a waste to be in Gao Lanqi and not eat mutton shabu-shabu!” Zhao Yu said, helping Miao Ying arrange her dinner set. “It’s just a small injury. Even when I had surgery in Yao Ming, I still ate normally!”
“Fine, whatever floats your boat,” Miao Ying said without raising her head. “Zhao Yu, regarding the mound at the barn… Gao from Forensics sent a request for the best footprint analyzer available, but the situation is a little complicated.”
“Oh?” Hearing Miao Ying talk about the main issue at hand, Zhao Yu immediately turned his attention to her.
“Because it’s currently the lunar new year, and the mound is located near a playground where children usually play and light firecrackers, all the trace evidence is a mess! If only we had gotten there a day earlier…” she explained.
“Oh…” Zhao Yu felt a tinge of regret. If it wasn’t for the fire, he would have noticed the situation. If he had the Night Vision Goggles, he probably would have found the arsonist as well.
“But they found some new footprints!” Miao Ying continued. “They’ve already brought those back for analysis, but let’s not expect too much…”
“Were there any CCTVs in the area?” Zhao Yu asked.
“That’s even less likely,” Miao Ying said, shaking her head. “Apart from the town center, the other areas either had no cameras, or the cameras were faulty. Especially the roads near the barn, that whole area is a blind spot! There are too many roads leading to and from the barn, making it impossible to properly trace anything.”
“Zhao Yu, Yu Fusheng and these infamous criminals chose a really strategic location!” Miao Ying sighed as she pointed at the documents she was reading. “The location is remote but still relatively developed. Gao Lanqi and the central plains are nearby, and Meng Xiang is only slightly further away!”
“So… is there any hope of finding the arsonist?” Zhao Yu asked, shaking his head in disappointment.
“The situation doesn’t look too hopeful,” Miao Ying answered. “Like you said, if they wanted to transport anything, they could do so with the large truck. Tu Lekai had a whole slew of legal assistants so even the highway was open to them!”
Tsk tsk… Zhao Yu thought. He had experienced that fact personally.
“The most unfortunate thing now is that the fire was so destructive. Besides Yu Fusheng, Yu Sunfeng, and Tu Lekai, we don’t know if any others died at the scene. You know, like those we were talking about earlier. He Yubing, Liu Guangxin, Yao Wenming, Yang Zebiao…”
“Just to be clear…” Zhao Yu said as he picked up a piece of cooked mutton, placing it in Miao Ying’s bowl. “It’s all ashes now?”
“Yeah! These people are vicious criminals. If they really wanted to run away, they’re probably better off being burnt to death. Still… hey, Zhao Yu, do you think that Yang Zebiao could be the arsonist? What kind of issue did he and Yu Fusheng have that caused him to kill Yu Fusheng?”
“I actually thought about that last night,” Zhao Yu said, shaking his head. “But the way the fire had been designed was so meticulous that I don’t think it’s possible. According to our reports, Yang Zebiao is an honest man.”
“But it’s been thirteen years, who knows what sort of person he’s become? Han Kuang was also a man of integrity, but he’s a demon now!” Miao Ying said, giving Zhao Yu a piece of mutton. “I talked with the police officers in Gao Lanqi and checked the remaining investigation protocols. All that’s left is to hope Gao from Forensics has some new information. If not, we can only follow general procedures and start a wide search.”
“Tsch!” Zhao Yu frowned. “Miaomiao, look, it was exactly because the arsonist didn’t want to leave any traces behind that he bothered to cause such an elaborate fire. If it weren’t for me, nobody would have known about the people who had been burnt to death! Shouldn’t we be ramping up the investigations?”
“Logically speaking that makes sense! But look at the current situation. The Crime Department has sent out a new intelligence team, Forensic Gao’s team and the government experts are all here! How could this look like a normal fire? If the arsonist had paid just a bit more attention, wouldn’t he have known that his plan had been exposed?” she answered.
“That’s true as well!” Zhao Yu said, nodding. “Actually, that works too. If the arsonist realized that the fire didn’t cover up the truth about Yu Fusheng he would be despondent!”
“Besides, if the fire was caused by a large group of people, then this knowledge would cause internal conflict!” Miao Ying said confidently. “So, whatever we do has to be bigger than them so they’ll expose themselves. But these things are no longer our responsibility… Our mission is still Wu Fangfang’s murder! The arson case has been handed over to team 063!”
“Actually, it’s better this way,” Zhao Yu said seriously. “Let them pressure the arsonist, and we can focus on checking into the others. I don’t know about you, but I think the truth is right under our noses! All we need to do is find it!”
“That’s easier said than done… after all, the fire destroyed so much evidence. It was a huge loss. And, based on the investigating we’ve already done, nothing adds up!” Miao Ying’s phone began to ring as she spoke.
“It’s Gao from Forensics…” Miao Ying told Zhao Yu as she answered the call. Not long into the conversation, her expression completely changed.
“What’s wrong?” Zhao Yu asked hurriedly as she hung up. “Did something happen?”
“No!” Miao Ying said, annoyed. “Gao told me that last night they found a burnt skull in the ashes with a bullet in it!”
“Last night… bullet… could it be?” Zhao Yu thought, his eyes glistened with hope.
“Yeah, they managed to retrieve a bit of DNA and after comparing, they found that the bones belonged to Cao Sifen!”
“What?! Cao Sifen?” Zhao Yu’s eyes widened with shock.
“Because the skull was lodged into the metal, it wasn’t burnt!” Miao Ying said. “The bullet in the skull shows that Cao Sifen’s death wasn’t related to the fire!”
“No wonder the police have been having no luck with their leads!” Zhao Yu exclaimed. “I can’t believe he died in that den of thieves. Cao Sifen, Yu Fusheng, Yu Sunfeng, and the mute Tu Lekai… isn’t that already four?”
“It’s not just that,” Miao Ying said. “Gao also told me that he managed to retrieve some trace DNA and tissue using new technology. It takes some time and doesn’t have a 100% success rate. They also found two pistols, but because they have been severely burnt, they can’t analyze the ballistics!”
Zhao Yu remembered that Yu Sunfeng had a gun, and there had been another in the flowerpot. The guns probably weren’t completely destroyed because they were made of metal.
Wait… gun, bullet, skull… Cao Sifen was shot through the head? The deceased in the Rural Homicide case was also shot through the head! That meant… the person who killed Cao Sifen was also the murderer in the Rural Homicide Case?
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