Hotel Tank Body: Autopsy Inconclusive on Elisa Lam

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — More testing is need to determine the cause of death of a 21-year-old Canadian tourist whose body was found in a water tank atop a downtown hotel.

Los Angeles County coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter said on Thursday that the autopsy on Elisa Lam was completed.

He would not say whether the medical examination found visible signs of trauma on the body.

Winter said that toxicology tests will determine if Lam was taking medication or another substance at the time of her death, and, if so, whether it was at therapeutic levels. He did not elaborate.

He also would not comment on whether coroner’s investigators had determined how Lam got into the water tank or how long she had been there.

Lam’s body was found on Tuesday in a water cistern at the Cecil Hotel by a maintenance worker who was checking out complaints about low water pressure.

elisa-lam-bodyWater tested from the hotel didn’t contain any live bacteria that would cause illness, the L.A. County Health Department said Thursday.

A do-not-drink order implemented Tuesday was expected to be in place through the weekend until officials determine the water is suitable for drinking.

Officials tested for disease-causing coliforms at different places inside the 15-story hotel.

“The tests came back negative, meaning that if they were in the water they are no longer viable,” said Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health.

Chlorine in the water likely killed any bacteria in the tank where Lam’s body was found, Bellomo said.

The Cecil Hotel is expected to drain and flush its tanks and water lines before sanitizing them, which could take two or three days.

The Department of Public Health will then conduct another series of tests before deeming the water safe to drink.

Lam traveled to California from Vancouver on Jan. 26, and she was last seen at the hotel on Jan. 31.

Surveillance video from that day shows Lam inside an elevator. She presses the buttons for multiple floors, and at one point gets out and is waving her arms.

It’s not known why Lam was visiting California, but it’s believed that her final destination was Santa Cruz.

LAPD homicide detectives are now trying to determine whether foul play was involved in Lam’s death or if it might have been an accident.

Police said they searched the hotel with dogs when Lam went missing, but they didn’t know if the tanks were examined.

The only ways to get to the roof are via a locked door that only employees have access to and a fire escape.

Police said that the door has an alarm system that notifies the hotel if someone is on the roof.

23 comments

  • Daisy may

    Oh ya test that water !! The cecil is now making residents to sign a waver, "use the water at your own risk and peril" Yikes !! A resident was interviewd on CNN and said the water tasted a little funny the last few days, do ya think !! can't imagine the psycological effect this has had on some. Shut that place down it's nothing but a dump anyways.

  • arguewithme

    Accident? What she was just hanging out on the roof, decides to take a peek inside the water containers and accidentally falls in because she was trying to get a scoop of water? Yeah, that seem plausible.

  • Tae

    Am I the only one who thinks that Lam in the surveillance video seems trying to escape from someone outside of the elevator? she seems trying to hide herself in the corner of the elevator promptly.

    • Rep

      Yes, if someone was truly following me and I wasn't on something, I would get in the elevator and push every button so I could stop on every floor and give my stalker a chance to run up te stairs and catch me. She's definitely suffering from some kind of delusions. She either took something, was drugged, or didn't take her prescribe meds.

  • Bill Grant

    notice in the 4 minute video the doors did not close?
    Could someone have been in control of the doors? Was someone watching the camera?

    • zacksdad

      I watched the video also. It finally closed and I think it went to a different floor. The wall in the background turned green on the final opening. Almost looked haunted…..

  • tara

    accidental? can you see that opening on the top..way too small for someone to accidentaly fall in. It sure looked like she was talking to someone and rather frantic…could see no shadows and whomever she was talking to kept out of sight therefore knowing about the cameras and their line of sight. There's a show that says it is haunted….when I look at that small opening and what someone would have to do to get her up there it is really creepy. I am so sorry for her family.

  • actionjackson

    Sources close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Los Angeles Times that Lam’s death might have been accidental.

    This is a good one. A lot of people have great mistrust in the LA Police already. Think about it for a while. The hotel elevator does not work, or is not in service? This is a hotel. The police should confirm why the elevator was not in service?

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  • coldharbourlove

    Theories: A. Hotel maintenance person, B. Ghost or poltergeist C. She was tripping on shrooms D. Mysterious person pushing the elevator button out of cameras view.

  • logic

    ne or more individuals who work in the hotel killed her and possibly spiked her drink(s). HE/SHE or THEY knew where the cameras are, thus they never went passed the open elevator doors. They probably pushed the up/down button outside the hall way and held the elevator there, because after she pressed all the buttons, the door started to close, but abruptly backed up, or HE/SHE or THEY had a key to hold the elevator there. The person(s) would have to be very strong to drag a body up to the roof and climb a ladder to the top of the water cistern to dispose of the body. HE/SHE or THEY didn't take the body out of the hotel, because most hotels have security cameras at all their entrances / exits, it would be pretty obvious if the police review the video footage and see the maintenance guy carrying a big duffel bag or suitcase out one night. She might not have been dispose of in the cistern immediately after the murder, but maybe kept in a another location in the hotel, until HE/SHE or THEY had the opportunity to take the body up to the roof. I wouldn't be so concerned about the possible contaminated water, I would be more concerned about the fact there is a murderer(s) on the loose in the hotel, or by now, HE/SHE or THEY might have not shown up to work in a couple of days and might have fled else where.

    People suggest she might have been on drugs, but if you are confronted with extreme and sudden fear/terror and no-body is around to help, you body tends to give out and you do not always act/speak rationally. That could explain her actions in the elevator footage. It all depends on the individual.

  • actionjackson

    lets put out a apb on logic.

    logic: u got the details down pretty good. where were u on jan. 31? were u close to the Cecil? i be scared stiff if u knew so many details. and also how u reference he/she or they. sounds self-incriminating 2 me.

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