Los Angeles CA - The body of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, 21, was found inside a water tank on top of the Cecil Hotel. Her body was found in the tank by a maintenance worker investigating hotel guests’ complaints about low water pressure.
It is currently unknown how Lam got inside the water tank, which is protected by locked doors and an alarm, so an investigation has been opened to determine if her death was the result of homicide or a “very, very strange accident”.
Lam had traveled alone to California from Vancouver, British Columbia, on January 26th. Her original destination was Santa Cruz, about 350 miles north of Los Angeles. She had been using transportation throughout her stay and had also been in touch with her family until her disappearance.
Police had originally used dogs to try and find Lam when she was first reported missing on Jan 31, and video was released last week of Lam inside a Cecil Hotel elevator pushing buttons for multiple floors and at one point stepping out of the elevator, waving her arms.
The tank where Lam was found is on a platform 10ft above the hotel’s rooftop and feeds taps and showers in the hotel rooms, as well as a coffee shop and the kitchen downstairs. After her body was discovered rotting inside the tank, an order to “do not drink” the water was issued by the L.A County Department of Public Health. But that’s a little too late for some guests who had stayed at the hotel and had unknowingly been ingesting some Lam stew.
“‘The water did have a funny taste,” said Sabrina Baugh, a British tourist who used the water in the hotel for eight days. “We never thought anything of it. We thought it was just the way it was here.” Baugh went on to say that she and her husband are not doing so well after learning they she and her husband may have had some Lam between her teeth. “‘The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally, especially having drank the water, we’re not well mentally,” Mr Baugh said.
To ramp up the YUCK factor, the Lam water was also used for cooking in the hotel, and the hotel coffee shop has been closed until all of the food equipment has been sanitized. The Dept. Of Public Health commented through Terrance Powell, a director coordinator: “Our biggest concern is going to be fecal contamination because of the body in the water.” Powell stated that the likelihood of fecal contamination is “minimal” because of the amount of water stored in the cistern but the department wants to be extra cautious.
The Cecil Hotel is on Main Street close to Skid Row and has been struggling because of it. A freaky side note on the hotel’s history is that it once had become the home of serial killer Richard “The Night Stalker”Ramirez, and Austrian serial killer Johann “Jack” Unterweger.Tags: British Columbia, California, Canadian, Cecil Hotel, Elisa Lam, skid row, tank