When it comes to mysteries the Elisa Lam case is an unique one. She was a Canadian on her own touring the United States with her own plan. She was young and out to see the world. Then she disappeared. Then she was found in a shocking manner that made world news. How did she end up in the water tanks that serviced the Cecil Hotel in Los Angles? Was it murder or suicide? Either one was it intentional or accidental? What was Elisa doing in that eerie elevator video hours before her death? Was there a cover up or just shoddily run security system? These are topics that are still discussed today among mystery aficionados. What happened to Elisa Lam?
Elisa was 21 years old. She was out to explore the USA and called her parents regularly adhering to an agreed upon schedule. She was battling depression and bi-polar but was doing well on her medication regimen. Her parents stated she had on past history of suicidal ideation. Still when they didn’t hear from her on time and couldn’t reach her they became worried.
She was staying in Hotel Cecil (now Stay-on-Main) right on the edge of the real Skid Row. Why a single woman on a tour chose this location I have no idea. This is where Richard Ramirez ,the Night Stalker, stayed and even killed a few women in his room there. Originally she was booked into a shared room, like a youth hostel or hiking bunk room. However due to complaints about her odd behavior from others she was moved to a private room.
Not much is known about her movements in LA. It is known she went to a bookstore in walking distance of her hotel. There she did engage in conversation with patrons and staff. The subjects were about the books and enjoying her stay.
Her parents tried for a day to reach her but couldn’t so they contacted the LA police asking for a well check on her at the Cecil. It was found that her things were still in room. However she and her phone were missing. The police requested video from the various cameras around. It was discovered that most either didn’t work or didn’t have the tape in to record. However the few that did work were turned over. One was an elevator camera and Elisa was caught on the footage.
As you can see her actions are strange. But this was the night they determined she went missing. Says passed as the police did their best to find the foreign visitor.
Then the patrons at the hotel started complaining about poor water pressure, dark water at tap, and that it tasted funny. Maintenance workers went to check the tanks that serviced the building. When they opened one they found Elisa’s decomposing body. The question was how did she get in there? Was there a crime committed?
From looking at her autopsy records it seems it was difficult to determine the cause. In one place undetermined was checked in another place accident was checked. Eventually it was determined she died of accidental drowning. She had on illegal drugs in her system and did not have her prescription meds in excess.
Her parents later sued the hotel stating that the tanks should have been locked and the doors to the roof that were supposed to be locked were circumvented. The Judge did not rule in their favor.
So what happened? Did Elisa have a psychotic break and some how found her way not only onto the roof but up on the tanks then jumped in? If not a break why would she do that? Her room key and personal effects but still her phone was missing.
I personally think it looks like she’s talking to someone on that landing from the elevator. I wonder if they are holding the button to make the elevator stay and she’s wanting to go. She doesn’t seem terrified but rather agitated near the end. However if it was a break and she was hallucinating that would explain the actions too.
There are paranormal theories out there. Ghosts drove her to it. That given it’s sad history with murders and suicides the building is possessed. That it was foretold by a Japanese horror film. That she was trying to do some mystical elevator thing that takes you to another dimension. I can’t say I’ve read an alien one but I’m sure one is out there if I dug deeper.
I think the Hotel Cecil was lax on security. Then again it is on Skid Row and has fallen far from its glory days of the 1930s. It’s not a place I’d expect security to be the best. I do ponder if the tanks should have been secured and come down on the yes side simply to secure drinking water of the residents from tampering.
As for the ruling I don’t think anyone could accidently climb into the tanks. If nothing else I would say death by misadventure but not by accident. Maybe she went up there with the elevator person as part of the odd hide & seek game and thought to hide in the tank but wasn’t found. That would be misadventure in my book.
I feel there is foul play involved in some manner. That Elisa got involved with someone who either lured her to harm, harmed her, or stressed her so much she has a break with reality. If she was harmed by another, after days of soaking in water with prolapsed organs it would be difficult to tell if there had been bruising or sexual assault. Still where did her cell phone go? It’s odd that it disappeared and went silent the night she disappeared. This goes further to making me think there was some sort of crime involved.
In the end a beautiful girl who appeared to be winning the struggle that can be life with mental illness died. The circumstances of her death are strange. We are left wondering if the answers were really found.