640 The Slanting Evidence
the expert lived up to his name. gao facai was jumped right into work, and the forensic department kept updating them with the latest news. gao facai's first task was to extract a kind of microorganism on the surface of the metal box that was commonly found in soil. he then was able to estimate the year that the metal box was buried underground by analyzing the growth of the microorganism!
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according to his estimation, tao xiang's metal box was buried in somewhere between ten to thirteen years ago, while du manting had died about twenty-one years ago. in other words, tao xiang didn't bury the box there right after du manting had been buried.
then, another major discovery was made. gao facai estimated the corresponding time through the examination of a kind of microelement in the skulls, as well as the embalming liquid. it turns out that both the embalming liquid and the skulls were poured into the metal box about five to seven years ago. that timing just happens to coincide with the exact time when tao xiang stole the tamil star!
after that, gao facai and his team used some kind of chemical method to discover that there were traces of lacquerware and silver and gold powder on the scratches inside the metal box. this could prove that the box had been storing other gold, silver, and lacquerware at one time. however, it was unknown if those things were a part of tao xiang's treasure.
through these three discoveries, zhao yu and his teammates could roughly make out the timeline. about ten years ago, tao xiang had buried a metal box in du manting's grave. at that time, there might have been gold, silver, and lacquerware inside the metal box.
however, about six years ago, tao xiang took out all of his treasure from the box and replaced it with the victims' skulls! hence, that one day six years ago seemed to be the crucial moment. something had happened that led tao xiang to take this action...
was it somehow related to the tamil star?
and, if so, will we be able to find the whereabouts of the treasure and the missing tamil star?
zhao yu pondered these things, while also marvelling at gao facai's efficiency level, which was truly shocking. it was only noon, and he had already discovered something else!
as he examined the six skulls further, he found that the embalming liquid that the skulls had been soaked in was different for each. specifically, the older the skull, the simpler the ingredients were for the embalming liquid. thus, the most recent skulls had been embalmed with the more expert and modern embalming methods and ingredients!
although this discovery was shocking, zhao yu had mentally prepared for this long ago. this was because gao facai's discovery matched with the autopsy report of the headless female corpses case.
ever since the case had been opened, the forensic scientists had realized this same pattern with the corpses, so the skulls should be no different. this also led the police to believe that the murderer was constantly experimenting and improving their skills as they continued their killing spree.
these improvements in his methods could especially be seen in bai lili's remains. the murderer cut an opening at the main arteries and drew out all of the blood with professional equipment.
he then filled the body with a self-made embalming fluid. not only did the fluid act as a preservative, it also made the deceased look vivid and alive! it was actually said that only a professional undertaker would know how to accomplish such a feat!
gao facai's autopsy report showed that there was a hole in bai lili's skull. this made him suspect that the murderer might have tried to remove bai lili's brain, as he wanted to carry out some kind of embalming experiment on her head. plus, they also found traces on embalming fluid on several areas of the skin.
all of these signs showed that the murderer spent a lot of time and effort in preserving the dead body. it was like he had committed the murder as some type of experiment. it was obvious that his mental state was that of no ordinary murderer.
looking at the reports that were sent over from the forensic department, the special investigation group teammates, who were enjoying their lunches, lost their appetites instantly. as wu xiumin read the report, she creased her eyebrows and asked everyone, "why do i feel like this case isn't that straightforward? there are so many facets of it that are unexplainable!"
"such as?" ran tao put down his sandwich and asked her curiously.
"look… tao xiang liked that woman and didn't want anyone to bully her. so, he would make whoever bullied du manting into a headless female corpse!" wu xiumin creased her eyebrows further and asked, "but, why didn't he just kill cui fangyu? don't you think it was cui fangyu's betrayal that really led to du manting's death? plus, not only did he not kill cui fangyu, he even helped cui fangyu to look for his child. this doesn't make sense..."
wu xiumin waited for a moment, thinking, then wondered aloud, "if tao xiang were to kill six women for du manting, why didn't he bury the skulls there right after du manting was buried, but instead waited for so many years? this is so confusing! treasure and skulls, replacing one another, what's all the hassle for?"
"you're not married, so you wouldn't know!" ran tao started making fun of wu xiumin. "do you think it's easy to raise a child? tao xiang was taking care of cui lizhu, which requires time and money. since he needed to raise the child, he dug up the treasure and sold it off to get extra money! at least, that's my guess!"
wu xiumin pouted. "just go ahead and finish your lunch and keep quiet!"
listening to his teammates' discussion, zhao yu also felt that there were many fishy aspects regarding tao xiang. for instance, seeing as how the murderer took such care of the headless female corpses, the killer must be meticulous, perhaps even a perfectionist! however, tao xiang didn't seem to fit those characteristics.
the more zhao yu thought about it, the more he felt that the evidence that he had gotten that day seemed not to coincide with his hunches somehow...
is there some other hidden insight behind this case?
did tao xiang have an ally, or maybe tao xiang isn't the murderer at all!