The playground is filled with the noise of students chatting as they make their way to the school gates.
Bo Jinyan finds Huo Xiao Lu in the crowd. He smiles: “Let’s go.”
Jian Yao: “Go? Where are we going?”
Bo Jinyan takes a stride forward: “Case Study. Let’s find out how this young teenage girl developed into a psychopath.”
Even though it’s just one street away from the school, the atmosphere is completely different. It is still and quiet in this part of town. Most of the shops are closed. The dim street lamp lights up the pavement Huo Xiao Lu walks on.
Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao is following her from a distance in his Grand Cherokee. Shortly after they got into the car, Jian Yao calls the officer in charge and shares BJY’s conclusion with him. He is a bit dubious. Nevertheless, he sent two officers to go with them.
Jian Yao is not surprised by the officer’s doubts. She is sure once the fingerprints and DNA samples match their findings, the officers will know that they are right. After all, criminal psychology is an emerging field in this country. It takes time for people to accept its merits.
Bo Jinyan waits for Jian Yao to finish her conversation with the officer. Then he asks: “Tell me, what made you ‘click’?”
Jian Yao answers: “Well, from the surface, Su Bei is the suspect. Like you said earlier, the person that she was meeting in Qi Hill is Su Bei. He bought a knife, and he has a gambling debt that he needs to clear. He probably had the intention of robbing Ruan Ming Huai. But whether he had the intent to kill, I am not so sure.”
Bo Jinyan nods.
Jian Yao continues: “You mentioned we have to analyse their behaviour. ” Therefore, even though the physical evidence points towards Su Bei, the behaviour evidences suggests otherwise.”
“The wounds on Ruan Ming Huai’s body. The killer disfigured her face, and stabbed her multiple times on her shoulder and legs. Why would Su Bei do that? He was after the money. The wounds on the face are signs of jealousy. Also, Ruan was lying on a concrete platform, but there were a lot of soil on top of Ruan’s dress. It looked like the soil had been dumped on top of her. From this, I suspect the killer is a girl. Someone who was jealous of Ruan. Based on thebackground information we know about the three girls, Huo Xiao Lu is the most likely the candidate.”
Bo Jinyan gives her a rare praise: “Not bad at all. Continue.”
Jian Yao recalls the time when Huo Xiao Lu gave her statement. Is it because she is hanging out more with BJY these days, she is more sensitive to how psychopaths behaves? She says: “She was acting a little strange. Even though she was crying…. she was just too calm and collected.”
The corner of Bo Jinyan s lips curls up.
Jian Yao gives a sigh. She looks at the girl that is walking with her head down: “She was the last person that saw the victim. If Ruan Ming Huai had a date with Su Bei, she would most likely know about it. Also, she has no alibi.”
Jian Yao thought she had done very well. Three important observations that leads to her conclusion. Deep down, she is hoping she would impress Bo Jinyan . She looks at him in confidence, and in anticipation of him praising her.
But Bo Jinyan always have a way of crushing her hopes: “Is that all you can come up with?” He asks.
Jian Yao: “…eh…yeah.”
Bo Jinyan smiles at her.
Jian Yao immediately asks him: “Please tell me. What other discoveries have you made?”
Huo Xiao Lu has turned into another street. Bo Jinyan has to concentrate on the driving before answering her. When he is ready, he says to her: “Another three points”
- There are another three points she didn’t think of?
“No. 1- Distance”
“Our killer slitted Ruan’s throat, with only one cut. This is not an easy thing to do. The blood stain pattern suggests the killer cut her from behind, at very close range. Besides, If the killer was in front of the victim, the blood would have spatter all over her face and body, which would make the chance of her being discovered by others much higher.
Based on the peak’s layout, there was nowhere for the killer to hide. No trees, or big rocks. The killer didn’t suddenly appear to attack. Therefore, it’s most likely they were together. It’s a matter of distance.
Everyone keep a distance with one another. Generally, the gap is between 1.2 to 3.3 metres. It’s enough space for people to feel comfortable with. When the distance is less than 0.6 metres, it’s considered intimate… like you and me now.”
Jian Yao takes a glance at him. Then she repeats what he says: “So they were sitting next to each other. Very intimate.”
“It’s obvious.” Bo Jinyan continues: “Considering the victim’s relationship with Su Bei, they would not sit so close to one another. Of course, there is always the possibility that they finally overcome their misunderstandings and cuddles together… but that’s highly unlikely.”
Jian Yao says: “And it’s more likely that the two best friends are sitting together. Ruan Ming Huai did not expect her friend to take out a knife to kill her, so she didn’t have time to react.”
Huo Xiao Lu has entered a complex. It’s an old housing estate that a lot of the ex-textile workers stay. They park their car on the side of the road. They wait until Huo Xiao Lu has almost disappeared from sight before turning off the car headlights and driving into the complex.
Bo Jinyan continues with his second point: “No.2 - Money.”
Jyao asks: “You mean Huo Xiao Lu is after the money because she comes from a poor family? “
“No.” He says with a touch of frustration in his voice: “What kind of conclusion is that?”
Jian Yao: “… please continue.”
Bo Jinyan carefully drives into the complex: “Do you remember how the corpse is positioned? She was lying sideways. When her throat was slit, the blood would have ejected forward. Besides, it takes time for the blood pool on the ground to form.” Bo Jinyan continues to explain: “The money was in a backpack. If the killer was after the money. He/she would have removed the backpack soon after Ruan was killed. Instead, it was left on ground, long enough for the blood to soak through the pack?”
“This means…” says Jian Yao: “That the motive for the murder is not the money?”
“Yes, the backpack was left on the body for at least half an hour before it was removed.” says Bo Jinyan : “According to the forensics, it would take the killer no more than five minutes to inflict all the wounds. There is no reason why she would only take the money after half and hour.
“The evidence suggested that the killer was emotionally unstable, but bold in her killings. Yet, hiding the money is a cowardly act. So, the most likely scenario is… Killing and stealing… it’s done by two different people.”
Jian Yao looks at the surroundings. There are lots of two storey buildings. Each floor would accommodate approximately ten families. At this time of the night, only a few of them are not asleep yet. The lights from their unit seep through the window.
“No. 3 - Huo Xiao Lu’s statement.” said Bo Jinyan in a low voice.
Jian Yao has her notebook with her. She turns to the page with Huo Xiao Lu’s interview on it. Jian Yao thought something was wrong when Huo spoke. But her statement looks fine. She can’t pinpoint the problem.
“I’ll explain this one later.” He says quietly. He picks up his night vision binoculars.
“OK.’ Jian Yao takes up the other pair of binoculars. By now, the officers that came with them are in a car parked behind them. They are probably doing the same thing as Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao.
On the second floor. The unit that is closest to the stairs belongs to Huo Xiao Lu’s parents. The curtains are drawn, but there’s a gap they can see through on one of the sides.
Jian Yao adjusts the focus of her binoculars so she could look at what’s inside the house through the curtain gaps. She is horrified.
A boy is tied to a chair. His hands bound together behind his back and his feet are tied to the two front legs of the chair. There is a piece of duct tape over his mouth. He looks familiar. It’s Su Bei!
There is fear in his eyes.
Then, they see Huo Xiao Lu next to him. She has a knife in her hand.
Suddenly, Jian Yao hears the car door close. Bo Jinyan has rushed out to get to Huo’s unit. The other two officers have come out of their police car too.
In no time, the three of them are outside Huo’s unit. Jian Yao hurries behind.
“Huo Xiao Lu. Open the door!” Shout one of the officers.
There’s sounds of movement from the inside, but no one opens the door.
“Knock it down.” says Bo Jinyan .
One of the officers kicks at it just below the doorknob. The door burst open in a rush of splintered wood and dust. The officers rush in.
Jian Yao is about to go in with them when a hand blocks her way.
It’s Bo Jinyan .
Without turning his head towards her, he says: “Follow me.” He walks in front of her.
Inside the unit, Huo Xiao Lu is holding a knife. Beside her, Su Bei is wriggling violently trying to free himself.
One of the officers pushes Huo towards the wall. He holds on to her shoulders and forces the knife off her hand. The other officer unties the ropes around Su Bei and removes the duct tape on his mouth.
“Arrest her!” Screams Su Bei. The handsome young face is flushed with anger. He is grabbing onto the shoulders of the officer. “She is crazy. She killed Ruan Ming Huai. She wants to kill me too. She is mad!”
“Oh, shut up.” The officer yells: “You need to come to the station with us too.” Then he handcuffs him.
Huo Xiao Lu is handcuffed too. But she looks at Su Bei in a confused and sad manner: “Crazy? You said I am crazy? I did this for you. I got rid of the person you dislike. I… I love you!”