Rollercoaster Chaos

At Vancouver’s Playstate, an accident involving one of their oldest rollercoasters has taken the life of one staff member and left another severely injured. Kelly Mai and Jan Schmidt were testing the ride’s latest repairs when their car came off the tracks and plunged into the walkway. Schmidt has been treated for a concussion and Mai died before arriving at the hospital for further medical attention.

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Image by: Ruairi irish at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

After an extensive investigation, it was confirmed that the roller coaster crash was in fact not the reason why the 18-year-old was killed. While the autopsy verified that she did sustain injuries from the fall, Mai’s upper body condition suggests that an anaphylactic reaction to cashews was the cause of her death. The post mortem revealed that she suffered from swelling of the tongue, vocal cords, and lungs, implying that she unknowingly consumed the allergen. Detectives at the scene also discovered a discharged epi-pen within 200 meters of the crash zone with the expiration date being seven months prior to the incident. Along with a mark on the victim’s thigh indicating an attempted injection, investigators found that the medication’s usual effects were not present in her body.

From the autopsy and DNA test, we know that Kelly Mai ingested cashews which resulted in her death. However, it’s also important to note that her buccal swab also detected milk proteins and coffee. This is where it becomes suspicious. From Jan Schmidt’s informal interview, we learn that the victim came into contact with the allergen shortly before starting the ride. “It wasn’t until we were on the ride that I noticed her face was swelling. She was trying to get her epi-pen. She was having one of those ana-phyl-actic reactions. I helped her with the injection but it didn’t do anything,” says Schmidt. Learning this, we now have two questions to answer: who gave her the coffee with cashew milk, and why?

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Image by: Future Science Leaders, via Science World

We believe the murderer to be Steve Longmire based on several key pieces of evidence. The first being Steve’s motive as to why he murdered Kelly Mai. Through the informal interview conducted by Science World Police Department, it’s evident that he wanted to be closer to Brandon but Kelly occupied a large part of his twin’s life. Additionally, Longmire did not feel remorse over Kelly’s death because he was convinced that she was cheating on his brother. “This will destroy my brother, Brandon. But it will be good for him. […] Maybe he can realize she was seeing Jan on the side,” he stated. This, along with the fact that Steve has a deep understanding about allergies, immunology, and microbiology, has allowed us to put together a rough summary of what we believe to have happened on September 16th.

Earlier that day, we suspect that Steve went out to buy coffee from Sunbucks and during his trip, he bought cashew milk knowing that Kelly has a severe allergy to the nut. This explains the receipt for the drinks found in his locker as well as his fingerprints on all three of the cups and the cashew milk. Since the lockers at Playstate weren’t locked, as confirmed by one of Andrea’s tweets, Steve would’ve been able to replace her current epi-pen with an expired one and then discard it in the room’s garbage can. He would then proceed to add the milk to Kelly’s coffee and distribute the three cups to his co-workers’ lockers as a kind gesture which clarifies why multiple fingerprints were found on the drinks. At that time, Kelly would’ve been on her way to Playstate; giving Steve enough time to finish all the preparations. After her arrival at Playstate, she headed straight to her locker to get ready for work. Kelly proceeded by putting on her nitrile gloves (preventing fingerprints) and taking a sip of the coffee. However, since coffee and cashew were not detected in her stomach, we’re led to believe that Kelly spat out the drink as soon as she tasted the cashew, but didn’t think much of it knowing that she had an epi-pen in her locker. After grabbing the expired epi-pen, she would then rush to the rollercoaster to conduct the safety test with Jan. By the time she was on the ride, the symptoms started to become more prominent and with a failed epi-pen, there was nothing to be done about the allergic reaction. As for the cart falling off the track, we believe that it was due to Dylan’s negligence to replace it. In the informal interview, he told the detectives that he was “doing the customers a big service by pulling [the] coaster out of commission to look at it and replace the axles”. However, the day after the accident, he tweeted this: “Keeping PlayState safe. Testing our new axles today. #Luv2Ride”, which clearly shows that he did not only lie to the police department but dismissed the extensive rusting present on the axles. We don’t believe that this makes him the murderer but this does implicate him with the death of Kelly Mai.

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Image by: Future Science Leaders, via Science World

With every criminal case, there are points that contradict our verdict but further investigation proves these details to be false. The first being that since the lockers didn’t have locks, anyone could’ve framed Steve by placing the Sunbucks coffee receipt in his locker. However, Steve’s fingerprint was found on all the drinks which is a clear indicator that he must’ve bought them. Another example could be Andrea’s fingerprint found on the coffee cup within 200 meters of the crash zone. We believe that Andrea would’ve had the chance to touch the drink when she left a threatening letter in Kelly’s locker. Thus, we did not consider Andrea to have assisted Steve in the murder of Kelly.

Our supporting evidence along with our reasoning against contradictory details proves that Steve Longmire had the capacity, motive, and opportunity that led him to murder Kelly Mai.

 

By: Sarah Buddhason, Chad Huang, Nick Liang

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