“Little girl, if you didn’t find any clues, I don’t blame you!” Zhao Yu and Miao Ying had just entered the hotel lobby, when he scolded Cui Lizhu over the phone angrily, “But, you shouldn’t lie!”
“No… Trust me! I’m not wrong!” Cui Lizhu said excitedly. “Boss, after we parted company today, I went and wandered around the Golden City. I discovered that all of the places that my dad used to go to get information were gone. It’s a true shame!”
Cui Lizhu shook her head, then said, “So, I to several schools. But, I did not hear anything about a student suicide. So, I think that the serial murder case, unlike the novel, is not about bullying or campus violence.”
“Um… Can you cut the chase and get to the point?” Zhao Yu saw that Miao Ying was also listening to his phone call and he urged Cui Lizhu, “I have work to do here!”
“Okay!” Cui Lizhu replied, then quickly changed her tone as she asked, “Do you remember the third murder in the serial killer case?”
Zhao Yu frowned as he whispered, “Was that the one with the electrocuted victim? You’re shifting topics quite fast…”
“Didn’t you just tell me to hurry up?” Cui Lizhu asked angrily. “Anyway… I’ve just come from that crime scene! Guess what? The Golden City Police are all useless! They didn’t even see that obvious clue!”
Zhao Yu frowned again, clearly confused as he asked, “What clue?”
“The front door!” Cui Lizhu said proudly. “I hadn’t even entered the door yet, and I knew the problem at first sight! But, those policemen, all of whom have checked the scene several times already, still have not found it! I’m telling you, the apparent method that the culprit used to pry open the door, it wouldn’t be possible in reality!”
“Oh…” Zhao Yu nodded quickly, while looking like an electric current had suddenly passed through his body. He shivered suddenly as he realized what she was saying. “What you mean to say is…”
Before letting him finish his thought, Cui Lizhu continued to explain excitedly, “I’m saying… The damage on the door was either left by the murderer on purpose in order to distract us, or it was the result of a foolish theft, where a burglar pried it open after the victim’s death! However, based on the fact that the house has been vacant for so long, I don’t think anyone would really want to burglarize a vacant building!”
Zhao Yu suddenly got goosebumps as he asked, “Well… Are you saying that you think the murderer opened the door with a key?”
“No… Not necessarily…” Miao Ying suddenly said. “I’ve seen thieves who can open a door lock with only a plastic credit card! Even if the murderer damaged the door later to make it appear like a break-in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he had a key to the house!”
After hearing Miao Ying’s voice in the background, Cui Lizhu said in a somewhat condescending tone, “Oh! Miss Miao… Hi! You’re right, but you clearly don’t know about all of the different doors and lock types! I’ve checked the door carefully, and it is not that solid. It’s just the most difficult U-lock to open. Thus, it couldn’t possibly have been opened by flimsy plastic credit card!”
Cui Lizhu then said, “Also, the lock has a double-sided, double-row bullet groove and a tension spring. In our thief world, when you see such a lock, you do not hesitate before aborting the mission and going home immediately! This is because only thieves of my dad’s expert level can open them! It’s a pity that he didn’t teach me this trick!”
Zhao Yu then asked excitedly, “So… You are sure that the murdered opened the door with a key?”
“Well… I’m not 100 percent, but I am at least more than 80 percent confident of that fact!” Cui Lizhu said. “I also went inside to check the surroundings. As the crime scene was on the third floor, the windows are normally tightly sealed, which would have meant that the murderer couldn’t get in through a window. However, we can’t rule out the possibility that the windows were not closed completely at the time of the murder…”
Zhao Yu interrupted and said, “But… If the murderer had entered through the window, then he wouldn’t have needed to destroy the door! So, this guy must have had the key to that house!”
Miao Ying nodded, then said, “As the owner of the house has been traveling all year, he gave the house to an agency to manage in his absence. Thus, the agency representatives must have the key!”
“Yes, I remember reading that in the report!” Cui Lizhu laughed, then asked, “It should not be too difficult to find these people, right?”
“Right!” Zhao Yu exclaimed over the phone.
He then turned and said to Miao Ying, “In that case, let’s hurry back!”
“Um… So you two are not at the police station?” Cui Lizhu asked, clearly annoyed and perhaps a bit angry as well.
“None of your business, little girl!” Zhao Yu laughed. He then said, “If we find the murderer because of your intel, you will have made a great contribution to this case! Come back as soon as you can, as if the investigation goes smoothly, we might just be able to close this case tonight!”
After Zhao Yu hung up the phone, Zhao Yu and Miao Ying immediately returned to the police station. Coincidentally, just as they returned to the office, Wu Xiumin, Zeng Ke, and the others were also returning from the interrogation room.
Just as Zhao Yu had expected, even after a time-consuming and laborious interrogation, his team had obtained no new information at all. Han Kuan had insisted that he was innocent and knew nothing about the two cases.
The three team members were clearly dejected, but after hearing the news that Zhao Yu had just received from Cui Lizhu, they immediately became excited and hopeful.
Wu Xiumin smiled, then said, “Cui’s words, though they do sound reasonable, should not be considered as foolproof. The door was made to look like it had been pried open, which would have been caused by the murderer’s attempt to fake the suicide scene. He clearly wanted to mislead the police into thinking that the victim had pried the door open himself. Also, we mustn’t neglect the possibility that the murderer could have climbed in through the window!”
At this moment, Miao Ying relinquished her previous skepticism and said, “No! You’re forgetting that, when we were at the crime scene today, we saw a poodle on the balcony of the second floor. The poodle would have barked at a stranger, so if the murderer climbed up past the balcony in order to get to a window, it would have surely caused the poodle to bark at him!”
Zhao Yu then said, “Well… Maybe what she said is not entirely foolproof, but even if there is only a one percent chance of her being right, we must investigate it!”
“Hey! I found something!” At this time, Zeng Ke came across some information online. “Xinyuan Agency is the largest real estate agency in the Golden City. It says here that it employs over a hundred staff members!”
“Good…” Zhao Yu snapped his fingers and said to Zeng Ke, “Look at all of their employees’ information to see who is responsible for the district where the crime took place. This will tell us who may have had the key to the house!”
Wu Xiumin nodded, then said, “I’ll call all the police station right now and tell them to drop everything in order to investigate the company itself!”
“Yes, and since company managers should know their employees best, I’ll go and talk to the manager now!” Ran Tao said, while he patted his gun holster. He then left the office in a hurry.
Zhao Yu then pointed to the white boards again and said, “If the murderer is really an employee at the agency, then he and the victims should have some kind of history! That means that we have to do a good job of investigating whether the victims had any contact with the agency and its employees before they died… Like buying a house!”
“Good… Let me check on that now…” Seeing that the others were all busy at their individual tasks, Miao Ying sat down at her desk and began to look for that information.
After only searching for a few minutes, she immediately found some useful information, so she said excitedly to Zhao Yu, “Leader! Hao Lili, the second victim… He did take out a mortgage and buy a house!”
Zhao Yu nodded. “Great! It was probably bought through the Xinyuan Agency!”
“Oh, I found more information!” Miao Ying said excitedly. “Here… It says that Hao Lili considered many options before she finally bought her house, and she also signed a contract with an agency. This agency must be the Xinyuan Agency, right?”
“Oh… She signed a contract with an agency, but finally chose a straight sale! The salesman would have been desperate at that point!” Zhao Yu exclaimed.
He then wondered aloud, “Is this why the killer got angry? If so… It’s no wonder that Hao Lili died in an abandoned building! Well… Who was the salesman for that particular deal?”