Born on April 30, 1991, Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old Canadian student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. On February 19, 2013, her body was recovered under strange circumstances from a water tank atop the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
She was reported missing by her parents and friends at the beginning of February. The body was discovered by hotel maintenance workers, after the guests complained about the strange odor and taste in water. While trying to find the source of the problem, maintenance workers stumbled upon Elisa Lam’s body inside one of four water cisterns.
Prior to the recovery of her body, police released a video of Elisa Lam which was recorded on the day of her disappearance.
Lam’s parents were notified by the police and they soon flew to L.A in hopes to find her. Police joined the search and posted flyers with her details and news stations quickly picked up the disappearance story. When the police failed to retrieve any information about her, they released the last known video of Lam in an elevator of the Cecil Hotel which was recorded on February 1.
The video which is two and half minutes long, left an eerie feeling to the viewers. In the video, Lam could be seen nervously trying to close the elevator doors by pressing random buttons. The elevator malfunctioned and she can be seen leaping out of the elevator and coming back again. The frantic movements left a lot of people concerned and Los Angeles robbery-homicide detectives treated this as a suspicious death for such reasons.
The video sparked attention among paranormal theorists and a lot of theories started speculating on the media.
After the video of Elisa Lam was released by the police, it was viewed by millions around the world. The story received wide attention within just a few days. Along with that came speculations about her disappearance. Some theorists claimed that her psychological problems in the past could have triggered an episode that led to her weird behavior in the video.
While some suggested that she could have been pursued by someone and the frustration of trying to escape them is what’s seen through the video. Among the theories that came out, another one claimed that she could have been under the influence of drugs.
Police later learned that Lam was battling depression and had bipolar disorder.
Lam was a small-time blogger and she often used her blogs to rant about her depression and the effects of withdrawals she was having in life. She was taking up to four prescription drugs at the time, but her parents claimed that she never expressed any suicidal tendencies or shown any such signs. However, the toxicology report showed no signs of drugs or alcohol intoxication in her system, which led some to believe that she was murdered. But, the autopsy showed no signs of trauma on her body.
Her body was found naked and floating in a 4-by-8-foot water tank on the roof of the hotel.
One of the couples who stayed at the hotel during the incident recalls that the water tasted bad and was black in color. When guests started complaining about the low water pressure, weird taste and odor in the water, the hotel sent the maintenance staff who came across her body in one of the water tanks. Afterwards, all the guests in the hotel had to be evacuated and the firefighters had to be called in. The tanks had to be completely emptied and cut open to recover the body as the equipment wouldn’t fit through the small opening of the tank.
The health department conducted a test and issued that the water wasn’t contaminated enough to cause health issues to anyone. Still, they ordered the hotel to empty the whole tanks, clean them and refill them again.
Her death was ruled an accident since foul play and hallucinogens were not the cause.
To date, the death of Elisa Lam has been unsolved. The police have not been able to explain how she got inside the tanks as they are mounted onto the roof and forcefully opening the panels would have triggered the alarms. She was found inside the tank naked with her clothes, keys and watch alongside. The tank lids are too heavy for someone her size to lift up that easily. The autopsy eliminated any signs of struggle or trauma before death. Maybe the police are overlooking something simple, or maybe there was someone involved. We may never know.
Sources: CNN, Buzzfeed, Wiki.
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