The police vehicle was speeding on the highway; JI Bai leaned back on the seat with his eyes closed. The sound of the engine and of the wind became fuzzy …
Suddenly, he felt a little heavier, he opened his eyes to see Yao Meng beside him had lowered down to put a red shawl over his chest.
Ji Bai sat up straight.
Yao Meng looked up at him: “You should sleep a little more. You stayed up the whole night; your body won’t be able to take it. I’ll call you once we get there.”
“No need, thank you.” Ji Bai lifted the shawl and handed it to her.
The case happened in Ma Po village. Ji Bai drove the whole night, and had just changed to the car of the county police. Ji Bai seized the chance to take a nap while on the road.
The sun was shining outside the window, JI Bai placed his hand on the door armrest while staring at the fleeting landscape outside the window, he did not speak. Yao Meng looked at his tall stature and stern handsome face, her chest slightly pained.
There was silence for a moment, she handed him a stack of documents: “I have sorted the information that you needed.”
“You’ve worked hard.” JI Bai took it and lowered his head to look over the documents.
Yao Meng didn’t speak. Whenever Ji Bai finished with a part, she offered to take them. Whenever he needed other documents she quickly handed it to him, and quietly cooperated with him.
The rural road was full of potholes; the field was green and lush under the sunlight. The group got out of the car and walked along the trails on the edge of the field to go further in. The area ahead was surrounded by a bunch of farmers and the local police were trying to maintain order.
Ji Bai sullenly pulled the police tape and strode inside. Yao Meng followed behind him.
On the vacant lot next to the field were dry bloodstains and muddled footprints on the field while the body was transported to the city police station (Public Security Bureau).
The county criminal investigation captain called Su Mu who was over thirty years old explained: “The victim is Ma Rong Rong, sixteen years old, female, from Q district of H province.
H province was several districts away from Lin city, across several provinces, Yao Meng raised her doubts: “How did you identify the victim so quickly?”
Su Mu replied: “Half a year ago, Ma Rong Rong went missing, she highly likely was trafficked. Her parents alerted the local police and her DNA was entered into national anti-trafficking system so after the comparison last night, we got the result.”
He paused then added: “Ma Rong Rong was deaf, her parents were also the same. After her disappearance, her parents went looking for her throughout the country. I heard that they’re poor; after they spent all their savings trying to find her they became beggars. We contacted them this morning, they should be here by tomorrow.”
Both Yao Meng and Ji Bai did not speak, Su Mu handed them a stack of photos of the scene.
In the photo, a girl laid curled up on this empty lot in front of them. The girl was wearing a T-shirt and washed out jeans, and bleeding a lot, but they could clearly see the delicate and white look of hers.
Su Mu said: “We asked the locals but no one has ever seen the victim before. Perhaps the victim had just been brought to this town yesterday. There were countless old wounds on the victim’s body; arms and neck have signs of struggles. Her clothes were messy, and the belt hadn’t been properly fastened. Also, we found footprints of another man at the scene. We suspect it’s from the trafficker or a buyer who attempted but failed to rape the victim so ended up murdering the victim.”
The sun was blazing; the local police quietly and anxiously waited outside. The locals were curious and excited to see two young good-looking police officers who had come from the city to investigate.
Upon receiving the report, Su Mu immediately ordered the town police officer to close off the site. Because the time of the incident was at night, in a remote place so the suspect’s footprints were preserved relatively well, almost entirely. Ji Bai squatted down next to the suspect’s trail of footprints to observe for a moment then said: “According to the length and depth of the footprints, we can infer that the suspect’s height is around 165 cm to 175 cm, and he wore a pair of leather shoes.”
Yao Meng crouched beside him and held out a voice recorder. Su Mu also quickly took a pen and paper to record.
Ji Bai continued: “Around 18 to 30 years of age, a little fat, weighs over 80 kg. During the crime, he had a heavy bag on his shoulder.”
Yao Meng and Su Mu were stunned, Su mus asked: “Why?”
Ji Bai was still focusing on observing the footprints, explained slowly: “The force used of the front footprint was uniform and at a steady pace, this is a characteristic of youth. If it were an old person, friction marks of the heel on the mud would be more obvious. Moreover, the modest pace and the strides were wide and open and was large; this is a characteristic of fat people. It can also be determined by the ratio between width and depth of the steps.”
“What about the bag?” Yao Meng asked.
Ji Bai pointed to the footprints of the left feet: “Every footprint on the left leg is slightly deeper than the right, there are two possibilities; one is that the suspect is lame and the other is that he was carrying a heavy bag on the shoulder. But the footprints are all clearly the same, this indicates that the degree of wear of the heels are the same so the suspect isn’t lame but carried a heavy bag on his back.”
Yao Meng and Sumus were both motivated after hearing his explanation. After finding clues, Su Mu immediately used the intercom to notify his colleagues outside the periphery of the police tape to begin the hunt for the suspect. And all other policemen praised Ji Bai.
Ji Bai walked a short distance along the edge of the field and said: “The victim and the suspect came to the site together. The footprints of the two are side by side, he used steady force, hence there is no trace of fleeing or struggling.” Then he pointed to the footprints that were circled and protected on the right: “Whose footprints are those?”
Su Mu answered: “It’s from the person who informed the police. He’s Zhang, 45 years old, and a local.”
Ji Bai walked over, had his hands behind him to observed for footprints for a moment, looked up at Su Mu: “Find him immediately, he isn’t just the informant but also the buyer. It’s likely that he might have seen the killer…”
When this news leaked out, the police officers were enthused, the locals were discussing noisily.
Ji Bai, Yao Meng, and Su Mu sat in the brightly lit interrogation room at police station. Soon Zhang Zhuangzhi was brought in.
He was a thin and short farmer, and honest looking. Su Mu only reprimanded him a few times before he reddened and panicked, then confess everything.
“My wife has been dead for many years. Someone said that they would introduce to me a beautiful young girl to be my wife, he demanded 30000 yuan.”
Su Mu coldly said: “How did you get 30000 yuan with your economic condition?”
Zhang Zhuangzhi hesitated: “My daughter graduated from college a few years ago, and started working at Shenzhen, she has been sending one thousand a month. Currently, the government benefits for rural areas are also very good, so I could gather 30000 yuan. Moreover, that person said he introduces the person rather than doing human trafficking. I thought all the young girls these days are like that, willing to be with me for a few years because of 30000 yuan.”
Zhang Zhuangzhi recited process of the crime.
The other person called Yong and wasn’t a local. His appearance was exactly like what Ji Bai had described. He’s in his early twenties, and was carrying a black bag on his shoulder. The two had arranged to meet at the crime scene at about 9:00 last night.
“But just after we met, I immediately discovered that she was not willing.” Zhang Zhuangzhi was slightly agitated: “Yong said the girl was twenty two years old, but I saw that she was a teenager, moreover deaf. She kept on crying and kneeling in front of me desperately shaking her head. Yong was mad so he slapped her two times. Police officers, that girl was even younger than my daughter. I guessed that she was abducted. I can’t do that kind of immoral thing.”
“So you still have a conscience? What happened then?”
“Yes, I still have a conscience… I left after that. After walking a short distance, I heard Yong curse saying that this dumb girl hadn’t made any money these few months. After that, I heard him beat the girl ferociously. I thought a murder might happen. So I didn’t walk far but hid behind the sorghum. After a while, I saw Chen Yong run up to the road and drive his car away. I walked over to check, the little girl wasn’t moving so I called 110*…”
(*911 / emergency number equivalent )
After they ended the interrogation, Su Mu asked Zhang: “Why was the victim clothes untidy and pant’s waistband open?”
Zhang’s expression changed, he did not say anything.
Yao Meng noticed his expression, sullenly said: “Tell the truth, any concealment is illegal. This is a murder case, the consequences are very serious.”
“I didn’t do anything.” Zhang panicked and hurriedly waved his hands: “I… I said no need, but Chan Yong said that he would let me inspect the goods. He took off the girl’s clothing and made her kneel down on the field.”
Ji Bai’s expression turned sullen, Su Mu’s expression also turned increasingly ugly. Yao Meng’s eyes were tearing, and she cursed quietly: “Beast!”
After they escorted Zhang outside, Su Mu immediately followed the clues that he had been provided to inform the frontline police officers to start the search to catch the suspect. After a while, he took two young police officers back to the interrogation room. They looked at Ji Bai with questioning and anticipating eyes.
“Ji captain, how did you know that Zhang was the buyer?” A police officer asked.
Ji Bai answered slowly: “The location of the crime scene was quite discreet, but not far from the road, it has convenient transportation. The victim and the suspect came to the location late at night. I predicted that the trafficker had chosen that location to make the transaction with the buyer.”
Su Mu finally clarified: “Other than the victim’s and suspect’s footprints, there’s only Zhang’s footprint, so that’s why you suspected that he’s the buyer.”
Ji Bai nodded: “Not only that, he left two rows of footprints indicating that he came to the scene twice. One row is steady and uniform while the other one is in panic, moreover it stopped 10 meters away from the victim’s body indicating that he had stood there hesitating for a while.”
Yao Meng continued: “So the first time he went was likely to meet with the trafficker and the next time was to look at the corpse, he hesitated and panicked then called the police to report.”
The police officers understood, quietly imagined the scene for a moment then Su Mu said to the other two police officers: “Today, we had the opportunity to learn a skill from captain Ji.”
Ji Bai stood up and patted Su Mu on the shoulder, and walked out with him. Yao Meng was about to follow, and had just looked up, when she saw Ji Bai’s thoughtful face and admiration in everyone’s eyes, she was slightly dazed. Her heart slightly constricted, a slight bitter-sweet feeling thickly poured inside her chest. Just by seeing his tilted face, immediately a feeling of pride appeared inside her along with a painful feeling that could not be disclosed to others.
After hastily eating lunch, everyone received the report that someone had seen a man that looked like Chan Yong in the neighborhood district. Su Mu led the team which he and Ji Bai directed together to the Linxian County. Ma Rong Rong’s death made everyone feel heavy and angered. The criminal policemen couldn’t believe that Ji Bai hadn’t sleep for one whole night and day. Because the famous investigator was involved in the search, it made everyone excited and determined.
While nobody was around, Yao Meng gently pulled Ji Bai’s sleeve: “Boss, do you need to rest for half a day?”
Ji Bai said no, he need to catch the suspect first.
The first two days that Ji Bai left, Xu Xu didn’t miss him and didn’t think of calling or texting him… When there are cases, everything else was put aside, this is the
most basic principle for a criminal police officer and it cannot be shaken. This principle was imprinted in Xu Xu’s consciousness and behavior.
What she thought more about was, how to help his case. Therefore she took the initiative to study and analyze documents of related cases, she revised everything and then gave it to Zhao Han. If there is a need for it, Ji Bai could always use it whenever needed.
But at lunch break, she inadvertently glanced at the encrypted folder she still kept among the pile of crime scene photos. After that, she could not control herself but opened the folder to stare at his face for a couple of seconds then closed it.
After a while, she once again opened it to stare at it for another couple of seconds.
While Xu Xu was in a daze, Zhao Han came and handed old Wu a stack of documents: “The forensic lab is done with the report, I’ll scan them and then fax them to boss.”
Xu Xu kept silent for a moment, then she also picked up the stack of documents, and followed Zhao Han to the photocopying room next door.
What they needed to inspect was the powder particles exacted from the suspect’s footprint, yesterday the Sichuan police had taken the whole night to bring it to the city police station. Zhao Han stood before the scanner, and carefully examined each page. Xu Xu said: “You go notify the district police, I’ll help you scan so it’s faster that way.”
Xu Xu had always worked carefully and quickly, Zhao Han nodded, and handed the documents to her: “Once you’re done, call Boss to notify him.”
Hearing the sound that the call had been connected, Xu Xu felt a faint indescribable joy.
Only after a ring, Ji Bai picked up: “What happened?
Xu Xu said: “The forensic report has come out; we’re faxing it to Sichuan police station. I’ll also send the electronic version to your phone.”
His voice was slightly hoarse, also appeared to be deep than usual. Xu Xu paused for a moment, then said: “Goodbye.”
“Wait a minute,” he whispered to stop her.
Xu Xu went silent.
She clearly felt her heart, as if with his words, had been gently lifted.
In an alley somewhere in the Sichuan district, Ji Bai was leaning against the back seat of a modest car.
He had taken a unit and waited all night to ambush the suspect outside a small hotel where the suspect would appear but still there was no result so far. Probably because Yao Meng had told Su Mu, so he insisted that Ji Bai go to the back of the car to sleep for a few hours, he had ensured Ji Bai that if there was any sign of the suspect he would wake him up immediately. Yao Meng and Su Mu stayed in the front of the car in wait.
Ji Bai did not refuse, he was about to sleep but was wakened by Xu Xu’s phone call.
“Nothing happened these few days at the city?” Ji Bai asked gently.
“Everything is normal.” Xu Xu replied: “What about over there?”
“We are waiting in ambush, it will be done soon.”
Both were silent for a moment, Xu Xu directly asked what was worrying her: “I can hear that your voice is a bit hoarse, are you alright?”
Ji Bai was holding the phone, and watching passersby on the town street, his lips curled up in a smile: “I’m a little bit uncomfortable, I drove all night, and probably have worked fifty hours without sleep. I’m about to take a break.”
Xu Xu was slightly stunned and didn’t speak.
In fact, this was nothing to Ji Bai, he had far harder times before. And he never told others of his sufferings. But Xu Xu… letting her worry for a little wasn’t bad.
Listening to his placid tone, she could almost imagine his tired face. That made her a little uncomfortable, and she unconsciously furrowed her brow.
“Then you should rest, I won’t bother you any longer.” Xu Xu quickly said: “Also try to sleep and eat on time. Contact me if there’s anything else, bye.”
Ji Bai didn’t get the time to speak before Xu Xu added: “Master, hurry go to sleep”, then hung up the phone.
Ji Bai looked the darkening phone screen, he slightly smiled. At this time, a local police officer who was sitting in front saw the unusual smile, laughed and asked: “Captain Ji, Did sister-in-law call concerning about you?”
Ji Bai did not directly deny or admit it. He leaned his tired body back, and closed his eyes, the smile still remained on his lips: “Women love to worry… I’m going to sleep for a while, remember to call me if anything comes up.”
Edited by No.5 proofreader
Sneaky sneaky JB lol