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A woman was found dead in her apartment. She was hanging from the ceiling but the detectives deduced that it was not suicide because of the bruises on her body (indicating a struggle) and the mess in her apartment.

The police had the perfect suspect, an ex-boyfriend. The woman's friends knew that her boyfriend was upset and especially angry about the break-up. It is also known that the boyfriend threatened the woman many times and said that he would kill her if she did not come back to him. Despite all of this, her friends stated that the victim was still in love with the man and she told them she would go back to him if he changed.

Yes, the suspect was perfect, but so was his alibi. It takes 2 hours for him to get to the victim's apartment from his workplace. He got out of work at 8PM (as the cameras at his workplace show) and the victim's estimated time of death is around 8:30 PM.

Detectives investigated his entire house for a clue but found nothing of importance.

In the end though, one of the detectives noticed that the victim was missing her phone and this was enough for him to crack the case. The boyfriend was arrested and charged with first degree murder.

How was the woman murdered? How was it possible for the ex-boyfriend to make it in time?

Hint 1:

What are phones mainly used for?

Hint 2:

What would the police do if they had found the victim's phone?

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    $\begingroup$ You came up with that? I'm impressed (not that I under-estimated you. I just like the theme) $+1$ :P $\endgroup$ – Feeds Dec 8 '18 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ The problem is actually very simple. It became this long only because I was trying to make it into a real life story. $\endgroup$ – alex oland Dec 8 '18 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ Nope, I got no idea. I feel like I am gonna kick myself in the face once I know the answer. $\color{orange}{\bigstar}$ ;) $\endgroup$ – Feeds Dec 8 '18 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I have to get to bed. I have run out of ideas... well, I think the ceiling might have been too high for her to hang herself from, so that might explain the part talking about the "shape" of her apartment. But that's all I have. I am leaving my comment here for inspiration. Best of luck to the person who solves it! Keep making these puzzles if you can, alex :D $\endgroup$ – Feeds Dec 8 '18 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ No, that part about "the shape of the apartment" means that her apartment was in bad shape. Meaning a lot of stuff looked like it was damaged during a fight. $\endgroup$ – alex oland Dec 8 '18 at 14:55
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The possible explanation that I see for this singular tragedy is, as follows:

The murder was committed at 8:30PM. Yet, this was a well-planned murder. The two most important pieces of information are the too-perfect alibi of the boyfriend and the fact that the victim's cell phone was missing. It's clearly not possible for the boyfriend to leave his office at 8PM and land at the victim's house at 8:30PM as said by the narrator.
However, this piece of information is misleading according to my theory. In my theory, the boyfriend called up the victim from a throwaway phone, probably to patch up with her and they decided to meet up at some place after the boyfriend left his office- so, probably some place in between the Boyfriend's office and the victim's house. Their "patch-up" didn't quite go as planned, arguments ensued and it got physical. The Boyfriend, in a fit of rage choked out and killed the girl using a rope.
After that, he realized his folly. So, he decided to create an alibi for himself. He then, drove to the victim's house, hung her from the ceiling, made a mess in the apartment to create the impression that she was killed there. However, he realized that he couldn't run the risk of being caught if her cell phone was discovered. Hence, he took away the cell phone and probably threw it somewhere.

The Problems with this theory:

There's unfortunately no clear proof that would hold in a court of law for first-degree murder. But, with the given information, this is the best that I could come up with.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well done! As for that problem, the detective went on to collect evidence after he had found this possible explanation. So you are right. There is no way to prove this theory with the information we have right now. But I really think this is the only explanation where everything comes together. $\endgroup$ – alex oland Dec 9 '18 at 17:20
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I may be completely wrong, but...

I think that to crack the case, the detective called the woman's phone, and the phone in the boyfriend's pocket rang. It was stolen before the crime, and perhaps during the encounter which left the woman with the bruises (I don't think that the bruises were inflicted on the night of her death.) Later, when she couldn't find her phone, she looked all over her apartment - therefore causing it to be extremely messy. Finally, she decided to call it, and her boyfriend answered, blackmailing her. Distraught, she thought that suicide was the only option, and hung herself.

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  • $\begingroup$ Remember, the man was caught. Meaning after the detective noticed that the phone was missing, the police had a lead and was able to collect evidence against him. The main thing in this puzzle is to solve the timing problem. "How did he do it?" should be the question. Still though, if that last part in my question was not present this would be a reasonable answer. $\endgroup$ – alex oland Dec 8 '18 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I meant to say: "The man was charged with first degree murder." instead of saying "the man was caught. $\endgroup$ – alex oland Dec 8 '18 at 18:50
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Here's maybe an alternate explanation about how the boyfriend could have traveled from his office to his ex-girlfriend's place in such a short time.

The story doesn't say anything about where this takes place. What if the office happens to be in a time zone that is ahead of the time zone where the ex-girlfriend's place is? The camera proof of his departure from the office could be misinterpreted as being in the same time zone. For this to work an additional hour is not enough though, which would be the case at most time zone borders. It would be necessary to happen across a time zone border that jumps 2 hours (or two 1 hour jumps very close to each other). Such borders exist in several places, for example between China and Kyrgyzstan or between Central African Republic and South Sudan.

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phones are used for calls and now also for GPS, maybe the murder was not done at home. they probably met outside and the murder was done somewhere else, somewhere near the guy's workplace, thus if checked in the GPS of a mobile phone it will register that woman was not home during the time she was murdered. since it was missing most probably it was dropped during the incident and was located near the workplace of the guy, having call logs and probably sms asking her to be there.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling SE (Take the Tour!) How does this answer differ from the one already Accepted? If you're posting an answer that's largely the same as an existing one, you should acknowledge the prior answer and indicate how yours differs, improves upon, or adds relevant detail to it. If you can't really explain in that manner why your answer is not in essence a simple duplicate, that's probably a good sign that your answer isn't adding enough to what's already been said, and shouldn't be posted. (A comment on the existing answer with your thoughts might be warranted.) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Apr 8 at 14:42

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