48 Hours a Day
Chapter 513 - Autopsy
Chapter 513 Autopsy
After the visit to Sherlock Holmes, the Deputy Commissioner hurriedly left, dealing with pressure from the media and the parliament. The other officers returned to their jobs, too, leaving only Lestrade in the apartment.
Although solving Whitechapel’s serial killings had suddenly become the police task force’s top priority, it certainly didn’t mean they could abandon all their other duties and cases. As the largest city in Europe and the world, police work was challenging, to say the least, not to mention how it was now an eventful season for the city. Whitechapel’s homicides spurred a flurry of copycats, serving to rile up potential criminals tempted to commit evil. Coupled with the growing panic among its citizens, the entire London police force was forced to cancel their vacations and return to work.
Lestrade had been following up with the Whitechapel cases since the first murder appeared. He was also the person who knew the case best. Naturally, he was the best candidate to stick around and help the two sleuths.
The three got out of the carriage, and there was a morgue not far away. So far, three women had been killed, all ranging from ages 34 to 50. The first two victims’ bodies had been returned to their families for their final rites, and the third victim was killed two days ago. No family came forward to claim her body, and it was still there as a result.
When Sherlock Holmes was about to enter the morgue, he was stopped by Zhang Heng. ]
“Can you give us some time?”
Lestrade gestured politely with his hands, stepped aside, and waited patiently.
“For this case… I hope the two of us can work separately,” said Zhang Heng to Holmes. “Oh?” Holmes asked with a curious look, “…why?”
“I would simply like to verify what I have learned during this time.”
Holmes looked into his eyes, leaving Zhang Heng to wonder if Sherlock Holmes had seen through him. However, in the end, Holmes just smiled, saying, “Fine. The more, the merrier. Your joining only serves to makes this matter more interesting. If that’s the case, let’s bet on who catches the murderer first. The loser is doomed to supply two tickets to an opera at the Queen’s Theater.”
“Are grand plays a new addiction of yours?” Zhang Heng didn’t hesitate and agreed to the
The conversation between the two took less than a minute. They then called Lestrade back, and the latter started to introduce the case.
“The deceased was called Bernice, a 46-year-old woman. Like the two previous victims, she was also a prostitute living in the East End’s worst parts. Her body was found at the fence behind the cheap apartment where she lived. She was first discovered by a coachman who went by the name of Slater. We can technically rule him out as a suspect.”
The stumpy police officer lifted the shroud covering the body and continued. “Our pathologist estimates that she was killed was around five in the morning. Her neck was slit by a sharp knife, hence the cause of death. The modus operandi is similar to the other two murders that we encountered before this. After she died, the murdered mutilated her body. When the coachman found her, a section of her bowels had been thrown over her right shoulder.”
As he explained the gruesome murder, Lestrade passed some photos of the scene to Holmes and Zhang Heng.
“The difference is that part of her uterus and abdomen had also been cut away. This piece of the puzzle baffles us. I simply can’t imagine why the murderer would go to this end.. what was his purpose?” Lestrade went on, unable to stop a hint of concern and anxiety from seeping through his composed nature.
Holmes’s eyes lit up, but he did not rush to say anything. Instead, he asked Zhang Heng, “You go first, or me?”
“You go first.” Zhang Heng was still studying the photos, including that of the two previous victims. He looked hard, sifting through them, trying not to miss out on even the slightest detail. At the same time, he was interested to know how his inferences compared to those of later generations.
It wasn’t that Zhang Heng didn’t realize how unrealistic beat Sherlock Holmes by relying on his Lv.1 criminal investigation skills. He hadn’t the slightest room for faults this round, not to mention how letting Holmes go first was actually a strategic move so he could observe where he placed his attention.
On the other hand, Holmes wasn’t the least bothered by the fact that he had to go first. He immediately took out the magnifying glass he often used from his pocket and walked to the body. Suddenly, Holmes seemed to transform into this incredibly sharp hunting hound, sniffing around the corpse in excitement. He even put his face up to the rotting body, although the putrid odor is emitted. Five minutes later, Holmes put away the magnifying glass with a look of satisfaction on his face. It was now Zhang Heng’s turn.
As if the start of a boxing match, Zhang Heng inhaled sharply as he closed in on the corpse. In the past few months of tailing Holmes, he had gained heaps of valuable knowledge, where he made significant progress in anatomy, forensic anthropology, and wound inspection. All these meant that the body in front of him was now a treasure trove filled with clues, and he was equipped with the right tools to harvest them.
He first noticed a foul stench of alcohol in the air and later found the deceased’s skin to be reddish, suspected to be caused by telangiectasia. Combined with the smell of alcohol, this indicated that the victim had a long-term drinking habit. Later Zhang Heng also noticed the fatal wound on the neck. It wasn’t clean-cut and straightforward, but the murderer had brutally sliced and butchered the neck to the point her head was almost severed.
Other than the apparent wounds, noticeable strangulation marks were also apparent on the neck. Zhang Heng frowned. Those were the marks of a rope or a hand. It looked more like a handkerchief caused it. Zhang Heng remembered a rumor that claimed Jack the Ripper to a woman, but such a conclusion was too premature with only a handkerchief as evidence.
Zhang Heng remembered Holmes’ warning that detectives were required to be absolutely rational and objective when handling a case. One couldn’t afford to have preconceived ideas. This sort of reasoning involved using clues to eliminate irrelevant evidence, eventually leading to the indisputable answer. If one was subjectively biased when gathering evidence, it only served to stray them further away from the truth.
So Zhang Heng set aside all the clues he’d found so far and continued examining the body. In addition to wounds on the victim’s lower abdomen and neck, there were injuries to her neck and face.
“It can be seen that the murderer has a real disdain toward prostitutes,” Lestrade, who was leaning against the wall, sighed. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t have done anything like this to her. I have been an officer for so many years, and I have never seen anyone treating another person like this.”
Zhang Heng did not respond, turning to look at the scratches on her face in silence. He then looked down, before finally, his eyes locked onto her abdominal cavity. The uterus is an extraordinary organ, the origin of life. A human fetus is conceived here. It could be seen that this serial killer had a special liking for this organ unique to a female. In the first murder, the victim’s throat was slit, and there were a dozen stab wounds on her body. As for the second victim, her abdomen was slit open, and her uterus was also stabbed. For the third victim, the serial killer went one step further and cut off half of the uterus. Like a prospective miner, the demented killer had just strolled into an endless goldmine, digging out their innermost desires from the depths of her very bowels.