"Start with interviewing the roommates and I'll check out the dorm room," Hikaru tells Takaki as soon as they arrive, flashing badges and hauling in their investigative gear. Hikaru has a bad feeling in his gut about this case and their interview with the parents this morning didn't do anything to lessen the feeling. No one had heard from the guy in a week. That never boded well.
Hikaru starts with pictures of the dorm room first, snapping shots of the disorganized desk and the neatly made-up bed. Any clue could be important. Hikaru always preferred this part of the job over questioning witnesses any day. He supposed he had lucked out with Takaki as his partner. Takaki was much better at asking the right questions and presenting a calm and comforting demeanor. Hikaru hadn't wanted a new partner but he supposed it could have turned out much worse.
Nothing in the guy's dorm room looks out of place. No signs of struggle or forced entry. So far, it all matches with the story from the parents: their son had taken a trip with friends during their school break.
Hikaru sighs and keeps looking. Each case is like a puzzle, only without the convenient answer guide to refer to. To put this puzzle together, he would need more clues.
"Hey," Takaki's voice cuts through the room as he steps inside. "Roommates say he was taking a trip somewhere too but their details don't match the parents' details." Takaki sidesteps a pile of dirty laundry to reach Hikaru.
"Hmm..." That could potentially be suspicious or it could just mean someone miscommunicated. Another piece of the puzzle to work with. Hikaru needs more time to process everything, but time is short.
Takaki flips through a few textbooks while Hikaru leans over to examine the trash can. He snaps a quick picture and then reaches in with one gloved hand to pull out a crumpled receipt. It's dated a week earlier and the guy's signature is scrawled across the bottom.
"Do you think this kid just ran away and didn't tell anyone?" Takaki speculates. He grimaces at the advanced engineering textbook and sets it back down on the desk.
"Haven't ruled it out yet," Hikaru answers, but not really paying much attention as he's still focused on the receipt. It's from store that sells camping and outdoor gear. It might be the clue he is looking for.
He puts the evidence in a bag and turns back to his partner. "Takaki, I think it's time we get you a new pair of hiking boots."