Elisa Lam and the Cecil Hotel

Published: Updated: 3 comments

I was completely away from this blog all of 2013 and up to this writing. So, I didn’t spend time paying attention to news stories or new cases because I was focused on helping our teenage son. Therefore, I never heard about this case until now.


LOS ANGELES — Canadian Elisa Lam, 21, traveled to the U.S. and landed in Los Angeles on Jan. 29, 2013, after visiting San Diego.

Lam booked a room at the 600-room Cecil Hotel downtown near Skid Row. The hotel was built in 1924 for business travelers but has housed primarily transients since the 1950s.

Cecil Hotel was once home to serial killers Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker, and Jack Unterweger, an Austrian who preyed on prostitutes. It was also the last known place Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, was to have visited before her gruesome murder in 1947.

cecilhotel

The last known sighting of Lam alive occurred on Jan. 31, 2013. The hotel elevator surveillance video showed her punching buttons, acting odd, and talking to herself or someone else.

Her bizarre behavior has sparked many theories on this case. Some say she had a mental episode. Others, like me, think she is talking to someone else. Then there is the paranormal community that believes a ghost is involved.

After walking away from the elevator, Lam vanished into thin air.

Nearly three weeks later, on February 19th, a maintenance worker found Lam’s naked body inside a hotel water tank after guests complained about funny-tasting water and weak water pressure. Her clothing lay at the bottom beside her.

🤢🤢🤢

The tank is one of four 8-foot tall, 4-foot diameter tanks with unlocked openings at the top. The door to the roof is usually locked, and an alarm system protects the roof itself.

cecilrooftop2

Is That Elisa Lam in the Elevator?

Some people out there do not think it is Elisa in the elevator. And I have to say that I briefly considered the same thing when I first com

An autopsy and toxicology tests were conducted to determine the cause of death. Initially, her death was ruled inconclusive. However, in June 2013, the medical examiner officially ruled her death “accidental due to drowning, with bipolar disorder listed as a significant condition.” Investigators had seen Lam’s blog posts about having the illness. 

I don’t believe her death was accidental for a second.

There were no signs of trauma on the body, nor were any drugs or alcohol found in her system.

The LAPD believes Lam was bipolar and depressed and might have been in an altered state of mind due to her mental health. According to the department, Lam fell into the water tank, could not get out, and drowned by accident.

Some people out there do not think it is Lam in the elevator. And I briefly considered the same thing when I first compared pictures. The picture below was taken from a Websleuths thread on the case. There are differences between the pic on the far right and the first two. So then you have to ask: Who is it if it’s not her? And where is Lam?

pared pictures. The picture below was taken from a Websleuths thread on the case. I agree that there are some differences between the pic on the far right and the first two. So then you have to ask: Who is it if it’s not her? And where is Elisa?

Elisa Lam

I have read that many people believe the Cecil Hotel is haunted due to murders and suicides happening here.

In 1962, Pauline Otton, 27, jumped to her death from a ninth-floor window after arguing with her husband. She landed on a pedestrian named George Gianinni, 65, on the sidewalk 90 feet below, killing him instantly. She was among numerous guests who ended their lives at the hotel.

In an unsolved murder in 1964, “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood, who enjoyed feeding pigeons in a nearby square, was found dead in her room. She had been raped, stabbed, and strangled, and her room had been ransacked.

Oddly, around Lam’s stay at the Cecil, tuberculosis spread through Skid Row in downtown L.A. A test used to diagnose tuberculosis, particularly in patients with advanced immunosuppression, was called LAM-ELISA. WEIRD.

Elisa’s death is eerily similar to the 2005 film Dark Water (a remake of a 2002 Japanese movie by the same name), which tells the story of a young woman drowned in a hotel water tank. The movie’s scene describes an elevator malfunctioning, and the main character’s daughter is Cecilia.

As if this case could not get any weirder, we have this: someone posted on her blog AFTER she died and up until December 2013.

*Cue the Twilight Zone music*

Cecil Hotel is now the Stay on Main Hotel.

Many questions remain regarding Lam’s death and the circumstances surrounding it:

  • Why was she traveling by herself?
  • Why did she choose to stay at the Cecil Hotel, which is located just a short distance from Skid Row?
  • Who is she talking to in the video? Or is she talking to herself?
  • Why was she pushing all the elevator buttons?
  • Was she having a psychotic episode?
  • How the hell did she end up in the water tank? The roof of the hotel was protected by an alarm system. If anyone were to go up there without hotel staff knowing it, it would have gone off. Why didn’t it go off?
  • Did she go on the roof alone, or did someone force her up there?
  • Did she use the fire escape to access the roof?

What do you think? Was Elisa’s death an accident, suicide, or murder?

3 comments

MeganTritsch November 14, 2014 - 2:56 PM

i can’t find any informAtion on any other persons death in that hotel.  no obits, no background, no new articles on any of the suicides

Reply
MeganTritsch November 14, 2014 - 2:56 PM

i can’t find any informAtion on any other persons death in that hotel.  no obits, no background, no new articles on any of the suicides

Reply
truecrimediva November 16, 2014 - 10:47 AM

Hi Megan, thanks for commenting!

Here’s a good article on Cecil Hotel. It has some info on the deaths there.

Reply

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True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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