The Ironmurder

A shocking death occurred this year during the Vancouver Ironman triathlon. Adrian Anderson, a participant in the race, died suspiciously from a heart attack during the final stretch of the race. It is a mystery as to what the cause of death may be, and if it is a murder, whom the killer may be. After intense forensic and cryptographic scrutiny, a likely candidate has surfaced.

A picture of an Ironman participant on the ground. Credits: Nigel Roddis via www.bloomberg.com

A picture of an Ironman participant on the ground. Credits: Nigel Roddis via www.bloomberg.com

The sudden death of Adrian Anderson was quite a mysterious one. He had previously been healthy and had showed no symptoms of any disabilities. However, during the last few kilometres, he suddenly suffered cardiac arrest. Paramedics had a close eye on Anderson in the last 10 kilometres. He was not running straight (common for an Ironman participant) and was hallucinating that he had already won and was seen celebrating his victory. When the police examined him, he was discovered with saliva from an unknown source on his forehead. Due to its placement, it was determined that it could not have been his own saliva. Anderson’s phone has also been found destroyed but have left 3 messages: 1 riddle and 2 ciphertexts. After the evidence has been examined, Ethan Anderson, Adrian Anderson’s nephew, is thought to be the most likely culprit of the murder.

Symbol of Caeser Cipher. Credits: www.amazon.com

Symbol of Caeser Cipher. Credits: www.amazon.com

The first piece of evidence was the fact that they were very close and had a secret language. The first ciphertext was a simple letter scramble from Ethan to Adrian. It reads “Can we meet for coffee? I need to talk.” It may not seem like much but the following message (from a scrambled number) reads “I know your secret. You’re not getting away with this, so you better…”. This message is encrypted in Rotation 2 of the Caesar Cipher, which is simple enough for a teenager but also complex enough for those who are not familiar with the Caesar Cipher. Evidently, something devious is occurring here. It is highly likely that Ethan Anderson was the sender of the second ciphertext.

A picture of amphetamine. Credits: www.stimulants.com

A picture of amphetamine. Credits: www.stimulants.com

The second piece of evidence was that the water bottle in which he last drank from was poisoned by amphetamine and had Ethan’s fingerprints on it. Since Ethan was the core manager of all the juices that Adrian drank, it is easy for Ethan to spike the water with amphetamine (which causes euphoria and hallucinations and acts like an enhancement drug) and pass it on to Adrian via Kathy Anderson (the owner of the more recent fingerprint on the water bottle), his mother and Adrian’s sister. A curious fact (possibly relevant) was that the name of the store where Ethan was working is called “Get Juiced”. Juice, in slang, is referring to steroids or other physical enhancement drugs, amphetamine included. Another very important note is that Adrian would be filling his body with hydrating fluids (dispelling the idea of spiked coffee) during the race. Ethan chose to spike Adrian’s water, which he knew Adrian would consume frequently before and during the race instead of coffee.

The last piece of evidence is a finicky one, as it may be interpreted as something else. Ethan’s lack of activity on Twitter, especially since the Twitter feed was given at such a late stage after the evidence was gathered. A murderer would stay silent. Given his history with cryptography, it is likely that he chose to stay under the radar and remain difficult to procure evidence against. There were a lot of passive aggression towards Adrian from the owners of the Lee building on Twitter but they would not be as revealing if they were actually planning on killing Adrian.

In light of the gathered evidence, it is very acutely displayed that Ethan was the murderer of Adrian Anderson. He displayed the qualities of a true assassin: cunning, stealth, power, and trickery. He used basic cryptography to hide his conversation and had thought about the small details of his plan, such as the tendency for athletes to avoid dehydrating fluids, using his knowledge of juice and perhaps even “juice.” He was a clever murderer, but forensics is a better detective.

 

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