The following afternoon, there was complete silence in the conference room. Everyone was at a loss. John Williams, the police officer in charge of the case, began collecting the documents scattered on the table. “If there’s nothing else to add, then the meeting is over. For tonight, follow up on the name list of girls that have gone missing recently. We have to confirm her identity.” Right when everyone was yawning and getting ready to get on with their work, someone in the corner slowly stood up. “I have a question.” Natalie had one hand in the pocket of her white coat, and there was an aura of total tranquility around her. Her colleagues all turned to look at her in surprise and couldn’t help but begin to gossip. “That’s a new face. I’ve never seen her before. Is she a new coroner?” “Are all fresh graduates this bold nowadays? Even the older, experienced people here have nothing to add. What could this brat have to say?” “I’d love to know what exactly she’s got on her mind.” Effie and Brandon looked at each other and communicated through their expressions. They thought it was absurd that they were treating Natalie as some newbie. They were eager to witness Natalie give them a slap in the face. Meanwhile, Natalie did not mind what anyone was saying at all. She walked over to John and bent over to pick up some scratch paper from the ground, which had a footprint on it. “Besides the autopsy report, I also wrote some information down by hand. However, it seems that it’s been treated like trash,” she commented. Her voice was not overwhelming, but every word she spoke was firm. Furthermore, her gaze was sharp enough to slice through one’s heart. John felt rather awkward, but he replied, “Hand it over to me. I’ll take a look.” “Considering you treated it as nothing more than scrap, I’m pretty sure you’ll do the same thing again.” Natalie dusted off the dirt on the paper. “An autopsy report doesn’t just contain the victim’s time of death and DNA information. I’ve already stitched the corpses of the two female victims back together. Even though their faces are distorted beyond recognition, telltale signs on their body tell me they were married with a good financial situation. They regularly received beauty treatments,” Natalie explained. “Considering all of this, there are only three people on the name list who are possible candidates. When you take into account the victim’s age, that narrows it down to two—Lisa Moore and Jean Gray. You can get the family members of those two women to come in for a DNA test. The investigation department needs to work harder and find the third missing woman before something bad happens to her,” she continued to stress. “Whoever this criminal is, they make clean cuts. They don’t have a drop of sympathy in them, and they’re a serial killer as well—a typical sociopath. If we don’t hurry and take the chance to get them behind bars, then even more women will be put in danger.” Natalie steadily placed the document in front of John, who quickly skimmed through it. He realized that everything she had said was the truth, and it was impressive how she had narrowed down a list of hundreds of people to just two women. “I didn’t have the time to introduce myself to everyone because of this case, so I’ll do it now. I’m Natalie Nichols, specially-appointed coroner of the Major Crimes Unit. I’m looking forward to working with all of you,” she greeted with a tranquil gaze. The people in the conference room burst into an uproar. “I thought the coroner would be some forty-year-old lady, not someone this young.” “Wait, doesn’t that mean we don’t have to search for every single person on the name list?” “She’s our saving grace!” Natalie didn’t pay their praise any mind. “That’s all I have to say, so I’ll be taking my leave now. I hope all of you will continue putting in your best effort so that I don’t have to work overtime often.” An imperceptible smile crept up on her face. All of her colleagues watched in awe as she left. She had stunned them to their core. The fact that she was only in her twenties didn’t matter. There was nobody in the Major Crimes Unit who could match her level of observance. She had saved everyone many nights of intense investigation. Meanwhile, in the changing room, Natalie had just taken off her white coat when she received a call from Xavian. “Are you so busy that you forgot about me, Mommy?” Xavian asked. Despite his grumbling, there was no trace of blame in his tone. Instead, it was just heartwarming. “Nevermind. You can forget me, but don’t forget to get some proper food and rest. I made mushroom soup for you. You can have some when you get back.” Natalie couldn’t help but blow her phone a kiss as she pictured Xavian cooking for her. “I love you so much, Sweetheart.” “I love you too, Mommy.” After telling Natalie a few more things, Xavian hung up the phone reluctantly. “Boss, I heard you calling someone ‘Sweetheart’ over the phone just now. Was that your boyfriend?” Effie couldn’t hold her curiosity back. Boyfriend? Natalie let out a giggle and gave Effie a pat on the shoulder. “You know, Effie, there are quite a number of people who I call ‘Sweetheart.’“ Her words left Effie dumbstruck. She was under the impression that Natalie had a few boy toys aside from Samuel, who had ordered delivery for her. In the meantime, Natalie made her way downstairs and left the building of the Major Crimes Unit. However, she had only taken a few steps out when a polished Hummer came to a stop beside her. The door swung open. Before Natalie could even see who had stepped out, she was pulled into the backseat.
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