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Elisa Lam Biography

Elisa Lam Biography


Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old tourist whose 2013 disappearance and death at the Cecil Hotel received widespread attention. Her death was ruled accidental, but there are still unanswered questions about what happened to her.

Who Was Elisa Lam?

In 2013, Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old vacationer from Vancouver, British Columbia, disappeared whereas staying on the Cecil Hotel, a Los Angeles resort with an extended and lurid historical past. She was final seen on January 31, 2013. As a part of the police investigation, a video was launched that confirmed Lam behaving erratically in a resort elevator. This footage turned a viral sensation. On February 19, 2013, Lam’s physique was discovered inside a water tank on the roof of the resort. Her loss of life was later decided to be an unintended drowning, although the precise circumstances that led to this stay unclear. Lam is the topic of a 2021 documentary, Crime Scene: The Vanishing on the Cecil Hotel.

Early Life

Lam was born on April 30, 1991. Lam’s household immigrated to Canada, the place they opened a restaurant in Burnaby, British Columbia. Lam was a pupil at University Hill Secondary and the University of British Columbia.

Death on the Cecil Hotel

On January 26, 2013, Lam checked into the Cecil Hotel, often known as Stay on Main, which is positioned in downtown Los Angeles close to Skid Row. Early in her keep she was relocated from a shared room to a personal one as a consequence of “odd behavior.” Lam was final seen within the resort on January 31. Her mother and father, David and Yinna Lam, who’d been in day by day contact with their daughter, rapidly reported her lacking. Lam’s belongings, together with a pockets, ID and laptop computer, had been left in her room. A Los Angeles police bulletin about Lam’s disappearance talked about that she spoke English and Cantonese, used public transportation, presumably had delicate melancholy and was in the end headed to Santa Cruz, California.

Elevator Footage

The police issued an attraction for help from the general public and launched a video that confirmed Lam, carrying a purple hoodie, inside an elevator on the resort. In the footage, she presses quite a few buttons, appears to be like out of the elevator, strikes again right into a nook, steps exterior the elevator and waves her palms about. The video went viral and sparked widespread curiosity in and hypothesis in regards to the case. One principle arose that Lam was taking part in what is usually known as the Korean elevator recreation, through which urgent elevator buttons in a particular sample will supposedly open a portal to a different dimension.

Discovering the Body

While Lam was nonetheless lacking, friends on the resort started to complain about low water stress. On February 19, 2013, a upkeep employee peered into one of many 4 4-foot-by-8-foot water tanks on the roof of the resort and noticed a useless physique that turned out to be Lam. The employee later mentioned in courtroom paperwork, “I noticed the hatch to the main water tank was open and looked inside and saw an Asian woman lying face-up in the water approximately twelve inches from the top of the tank.” The roof had beforehand been searched, with the help of a police canine. However, nobody had checked contained in the water tanks.

Case and Investigation

The investigation into Lam’s loss of life continued following the invention of her physique. Entry to the roof was speculated to be restricted to resort staff. An inside staircase to the roof had a locked door outfitted with an alarm — mentioned to be working — that ought to have alerted workers if it had been opened. Three fireplace escapes additionally supplied entry to the roof.

Following additional inquiry, an post-mortem and toxicology checks, the coroner issued a ruling that Lam had unintentionally drowned. There had been no indications of bodily trauma on her physique, and no medicine which may have contributed to her loss of life had been present in her system. The coroner’s report talked about Lam’s bipolar dysfunction as a big situation that performed a job in her loss of life.

Due to a negligence lawsuit in opposition to the resort filed by Lam’s mother and father (the swimsuit was dismissed in 2015), the lead investigator from the case gave a deposition. “My opinion is that she fell off her medication, and in her state, she happened to find her way onto the roof, got into the tank of water,” Detective Wallace Tennelle acknowledged. In the deposition, the detective additionally famous, “My partner and I tried to figure out how somebody could have put her in there, and it’s difficult for someone to have been able to do that and not leave prints, not leave DNA or anything like that. So she climbed in on her own.”

The case could also be closed, however a reconstruction of how Lam died reveals some confounding circumstances. For Lam to have entered the water tank on her personal, she would have wanted to make her method to the resort roof undetected, both by a locked and alarmed door or through a fireplace escape on the facet of the constructing. Next, she would have clambered onto the water tank platform and climbed a 10-foot ladder on the facet of the tank. She then would have needed to open a heavy water tank lid earlier than getting inside. And in some unspecified time in the future Lam presumably undressed — when she was positioned, her physique was bare, whereas her garments had been within the tank together with her.

The Cecil Hotel — which had rebranded itself as Stay on Main previous to Lam’s keep — has a macabre historical past which will have contributed to hypothesis about Lam’s loss of life. The resort has been the scene of a number of murders and suicides, relationship practically way back to its first days of operation in 1927. In the Nineteen Eighties, serial killer Richard Ramirez, often known as the Night Stalker, stayed on the resort. Jack Unterweger, an Austrian serial killer, was a visitor in 1991.

TV Shows and Documentary

Lam’s story has supplied inspiration for film screenplays, in addition to an episode of the tv present Castle and the sequence American Horror Story: Hotel.

A four-part documentary detailing Lam’s mysterious loss of lifeCrime Scene: The Vanishing on the Cecil Hotel, premiered in February 2021.

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