In 2013 on January 31, a Candian student died in a hotel in Los Angeles. Her name was Elisa Lam, and her mysterious death has held us for more than eight years now because we still don’t know what happened.
The last thing we saw from her was filmed on surveillance cameras in the hotel — she stepped into an elevator and behaved weirdly. The video was shared many times, and people still can’t figure out what she was doing.
But even stranger is the fact that she was found in a water tank on the hotel’s roof on February 19.
A Bit of Background Information
On April 30, 1991, Elisa was born and lived in Vancouver, Canada. She was born a daughter of a migrant couple from Hong Kong, and she studied at the University of British Columbia.
Lam had been diagnosed with bipolar illness and depression at the time. She had been given four prescriptions to address her conditions — Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Seroquel, and Effexor — and she had taken them all.
According to her family, who allegedly kept her history of mental illness a secret, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
According to reports, Lam did not have a history of suicidal thoughts or attempts, even though she had previously gone missing for a short period.
After being developed as a commercial hotel in the 1920s, The Cecil had substantial financial troubles during the Great Depression of the 1930s and was unable to reclaim its former market as the area surrounding it finally fell into disrepair in the following decades.
Lam’s Disappearance at the Cecil
Elisa Lam arrived in Los Angeles on January 26, 2013. Amid her solo trek along the West Coast, she had just boarded an Amtrak train from San Diego and was on her way to Santa Cruz.
Her family had expressed concern about her going alone, but the young student was eager to do it alone and see the world.
As a compromise, Lam made it a point to check in with her parents daily during the trip to ensure they were aware of her safety.
Her parents were surprised when they had no communication from their daughter on January 31, the day before she was set to check out of her Los Angeles hotel, the Cecil.
Eventually, the Lams approached the Los Angeles Police Department for assistance.
After searching Cecil’s home and business, the police could not locate her.
Very soon, the police would realize that cameras in the hotel were recording all the time. Now the weird video comes in.
Elisa Lam was seen in one of the hotel’s elevators on the day of her disappearance, behaving unusually, according to the hotel’s surveillance footage.
As shown in the grainy video, Lam gets into the elevator and presses all floor buttons one by one. She enters and exits the elevator, sticking her head out the sideways doorway into the hotel’s halls between each trip up and down.
Then she takes a few more steps out of the elevator before she is entirely out of the elevator.
The Discovery of the Body
According to reports, on February 19, two weeks after the police released the video, maintenance worker Santiago Lopez discovered Elisa Lam’s corpse floating in one of the hotel’s water tanks.
While responding to complaints from hotel guests about poor water pressure and a strange flavor coming from the faucet, Lopez made the discovery.
Until now, no one has been able to determine how Lam’s body wound up in the hotel’s water tank, where it is floating lifelessly next to the exact clothing she wore in the CCTV footage, or who else could have been involved.
Lam was always spotted alone around the hotel grounds, according to hotel personnel who reported her to the police.
The Autopsy of Lam’s Body
When the autopsy findings in Lam’s case were released, it merely served to arouse even more speculation.
According to the toxicology report, an autopsy revealed that Lam had ingested a variety of medicinal medicines, most likely medication for her bipolar disease.
However, there were no signs of alcohol or illicit drugs in her system.
According to the breakdown, three critical observations were made.
- Lam had taken at least one antidepressant on that particular day;
- Lam had taken her second antidepressant and mood stabilizer lately, but not on that specific day; and
- Lam had not used her anti-psychotic in a long time. As a result of these findings, Lam, who had been diagnosed with bipolar illness and depression, may not have been taking her meds as prescribed.
According to the autopsy, the evidence that was reviewed revealed that there had been no foul play.
On the other hand, the coroner’s office said that they could not conduct a thorough investigation because they were unable to study the blood from Lam’s rotting corpse.
Who Is Responsible for Lam’s Death?
Several months after their daughter’s death was discovered, David and Yinna Lam filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles.
Specifically, according to the Lams’ attorney, the hotel had a responsibility to inspect and seek out risks in the hotel that constituted an undue risk of harm to Lam and other hotel patrons.
The hotel fought against the lawsuit by submitting a petition to dismiss it. It was stated by the hotel’s attorney that there was no reason to believe that someone would be able to get access to one of their water tanks if they tried.
Pedro Tovar, the hotel’s Chief Engineer, also made it apparent that it would be impossible for anybody to access the rooftop, where the hotel’s water tanks were situated, without setting off the alarms on the premises.
Employees at the hotel would be the only ones who could adequately disable the alarm.
The case against the hotel was dismissed when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Howard Halm decided that Elisa Lam’s death was unforeseeable since it occurred in an area that visitors were not permitted to enter.
The Murder Hotel
A series of unexplained deaths have occurred at the Cecil Hotel, including Elisa Lam’s death.
After first opening its doors in 1927, the Cecil Hotel has been the site of 16 inexplicable paranormal phenomena and non-natural fatalities, all of which have occurred since then.
In addition to Lam’s death, one of the most infamous deaths linked with the hotel was the 1947 murder of actress Elizabeth Short, or the Black Dahlia, who was reputedly seen drinking at the hotel bar in the days before her gruesome fate.