The following is the mystery to present to the students:
The Mask of Tutankhamen has been stolen from a local museum. The mask was on loan from Egypt and must be recovered to avoid an international uproar. There are several suspects in custody, but as none of them actually have the mask. The police do not know which of them committed this crime. You have been recruited to review the facts, determine who is guilty and find the location of the mask.
The mask was kept in a steel room with doors that slide into place on a timer and cannot be unlocked. A single guard sat in a folding chair near the pedestal. As the room is airtight when the door is closed there is a ventilation system that pushes air into the room through a single large vent. The pedestal has a new type of alarm system that sounds if any type of electrical current is detected in or near the entrance of the room. This prevents anyone from using any electronic gadgets inside the room or to try and open the door.
The guard was found unconscious with no visible wounds and was rushed to the hospital, but he has not awoken. He did have some nasal cold medication in his pocket, but no other unusual items. Blood was drawn and tested, revealing Halothane. This type of anesthesia can be administered by inhalation.
There was a dusting of white powder on and around the pedestal where the mask was displayed. The faceplate on the ventilation system was found on the ground. There were no fingerprints anywhere, but there was a faint footprint in the white powder on the floor and some parallel lines approximately two feet apart. The ventilation system was searched, but as no other evidence was located the mask has not been found.
Three suspects have been detained:
- The museum manager who is constantly eating powdered sugar donuts and is deep in debt
- An art thief who had been seen in the museum that day and was found carrying lock picks, rope, corn starch and roller-skates
- A young medical student who claims to be the reincarnation of King Tut and has been in the museum daily since the Egyptian exhibit opened. His hands appeared to be covered with baby powder, possibly from surgical gloves
You will need to answer the following questions to solve the mystery:
How was the mask moved? (it is too heavy to lift or carry)
What is the white powder that was found around the pedestal where the mask was kept?
What was the white powder used for?
Who is wearing a shoe that matches the print left behind?
The following experiments will help students answer these questions and allow them to solve the mystery.