The Mysterious Case Of Elisa Lam

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#1
Elisa Lam death: Water from LA hotel cistern 'safe'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21536891

Lam of Vancouver had been travelling alone

Investigators are seeking the cause of death of a Canadian woman found dead in a Los Angeles hotel cistern.

Meanwhile, water sampled from the tank has been found to be safe to drink and bathe in, health officials have said.

Elisa Lam, 21, of Vancouver was found dead in the tank by a maintenance worker on Tuesday, after guests complained of low water pressure.

Guests at the Cecil Hotel said they had bathed and drunk water from the tank while she remained in it.

Officials said an autopsy on Thursday did not provide a definite cause of death, and the medical examiner's office was awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote


The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach”

Michael Baugh
British tourist
On Thursday afternoon, tests showed the water to be safe from a "microbiological standpoint", Angelo Bellomo, Los Angeles county's director of environmental health, told the Associated Press.

Two British tourists at the hotel, Michael Baugh and his wife, said they were shocked to discover why the water had only been trickling through the taps and shower.

"The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally," said Mr Baugh.

Police Sgt Rudy Lopez said Lam's death was suspicious and a coroner's investigation would determine the cause.

Hotel surveillance footage before she died showed her pushing buttons in the lift, leaning through the doors and looking both ways.

Lam was travelling alone from Vancouver, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. She arrived on 26 January and hotel workers last remember seeing her five days later.

Authorities reportedly had to cut through the water tank to retrieve the body, because of the narrow opening at the top.
 

rynner2

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#3
Actor Robert Conrad 'helps Plymouth couple' after hotel body find

An American actor gave a couple from Plymouth $500 (£330) towards their holiday after they had to leave a hotel where a body was found in a cistern.
Michael and Sabina Baugh spent eight days at the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles (LA) before Elisa Lam's body was found.
Mrs Baugh said Robert Conrad, known for the 1960s television series The Wild Wild West, gave them the money after hearing their story on the radio.

LA health officials said the water was found to be safe to drink.

Ms Lam, 21, from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead in the tank by a maintenance worker on 21 February after guests complained of low water pressure.
Guests, including the Baughs, said they had bathed and drunk water from the tank while she remained in it.
Mrs Baugh said: "The water wasn't clean. It was coming out brown and very cloudy.
"We had to leave it on for a few minutes, but it would clear up." :cross eye

She said she and her husband, both 27, were eight days into a two-week holiday when they became aware something was wrong as emergency services arrived.
She said: "We didn't believe it at first but police and a coroner's car were there, so they must have found a body.
"Everybody had to check out because the water had to be turned off."
The couple said they had to stay in the lobby for 13 hours until they could sort out further accommodation after emailing their travel agent, Thomas Cook, in Britain.

In the meantime, they were interviewed by various media organisations, including KFI Radio, where Mr Conrad heard what had happened to them.
Mrs Baugh said: "He drove to KFI Radio to give us $500."
She added that, as well as Mr Conrad's donation, an anonymous woman paid for them to stay at Hollywood's Hilton Hotel for their last three nights, which was "an amazing experience".

Samples from the tank had been found to be safe to drink and bathe in, LA health officials said.
However, the couple said getting further medical checks at home was one thing they "still have to sort out".

Ms Lam's death is under investigation.

Thomas Cook said it was taking the matter very seriously, and added it was in conversation with the couple over compensation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-21725206
 

beakboo

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#4
How can water with an eight day old dead body in it be safe to drink?
 

OneWingedBird

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#5
Much that I fear that the answer to that is going to be quite insulting to our intelligence, I'd quite like to hear it too.
 
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Canadian Elise Lam found in cistern 'died accidentally'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23007584

Lam of Vancouver had been travelling alone

The death of a Canadian woman found in a Los Angeles hotel cistern has been ruled an accident.

Elise Lam, 21, of Vancouver drowned in the water tank atop the Cecil Hotel.

Her body was found in February after guests complained of low water pressure. The coroner found no signs of trauma nor anything in toxicology tests that contributed to her death.

But the Los Angeles coroner's office said bipolar disorder was considered a "significant condition" in Lam's death.

She was travelling alone, arriving on 26 January. Hotel workers last remembered seeing her five days later.

Hotel security footage showed her behaving erratically, pushing buttons in the lift, and leaning through the doors and looking both ways.

Guests at the Cecil Hotel said they had bathed in and drunk water from the tank while her body remained in it.

Los Angeles health officials said at the time tests of the water showed it to be safe - from a "microbiological standpoint".

Two hotel guests have sued the Cecil for providing water "not fit for human ingestion".

And American actor Robert Conrad gave a British couple that had stayed at the Cecil during the time Lam's body was inside the cistern $500 (£320), after hearing their story on the radio.
 

sherbetbizarre

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#8
More on the death of the girl found in a hotel water tower - including video of her acting strangely in the hotel lift.

The following is an email to Art Bell...

The Mysterious Death of Canadian Elisa Lam

Art!

First off Roswells! Been listening to you for over a decade and love your show. I have something here you really need to take a look at. It happened last February at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, which is most infamous for being the hotel that Richard The NightStalker Ramirez made his residence. In any event…

My email is concerning the mysterious death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam. Lam, who was only 21, was last seen at the Cecil Hotel on Jan. 31, according to L.A. police. Her parents had reported her missing and her body was discovered, nude and floating in the water tower of the hotel (a drinking source for residents) where she apparently was for 2 weeks. Now, if you can believe it, here’s is where the story gets REALLY disturbing.

Lam’s final moments were caught on the elevator security camera of the hotel. The footage I’m linking you to was taken moments before her death. In it you’ll see Lam acting very strangely. Mind you no drugs or alcohol was found in her system at all. She appears to be running from or hiding from someone, or something. Most perplexing about the video is that the door stays open the entire time, nearly four minutes. Then Lam contorts into some really frightening way that has to be seen to really be described and the elevator doors shut. Then open and shut several times before the video ends. Watch the video and then I’ll tell you about how this story gets even stranger.

A maintenance worker discovered the body while looking into complaints about the water pressure in the building. Guests had been drinking and bathing with water contaminated by a body that had been decomposing for nearly two weeks. So how did she get there? The Water Tower on top of the building was 15 feet high and locked. To gain access to said tower Lam would have had to of passed silently through two locked and alarmed doors first. Apparently she did so. All doors were still locked. No alarms were ever tripped. There are 100s of stories about this on the internet reported by every reputable news agency that there is. Some people say she was possessed or attacked by a ghost. If this is the case then this is the only known footage of such an occurrence.

Here’s more videos on this incident:

In the end her death was ruled as “accidental.” Mind you her clothes were never found. Nothing about this story makes any sense. Would love to hear your take on it.
http://artbell.com/the-mysterious-death ... elisa-lam/
 

rynner2

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#9
sherbetbizarre said:
More on the death of the girl found in a hotel water tower - including video of her acting strangely in the hotel lift.
Truly strange. Quite disturbing.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#10
I'll try again later to see if the video will play on my lousy BT connection.

Her name suggests a Chinese background and I was reminded of the Japanese film Dark Water . . .


Spoilers Ahead




which not only includes a death by drowning in a rooftop watertank but also - IIRC - a particularly shocking moment in a lift!

It's all so intriguing that a real human tragedy might get obscured by the layers of mystery. :(
 

The late Pete Younger

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#11
Very odd, she definitely seems to be seeing someone , the hand gestures look strange as if she's describing something, also when the doors are closed there seems to be an amorphous swirling shape, probably digital anomaly.
 

OneWingedBird

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#12
This is one of the genuinely more bizarre things I've seen for quite a while.

The first thing that came into my mind on seeing the video is that she moves like she's playing a game, like maybe she was LARPing.

This video suggests she was well into Left For Dead and points out some similarities to the manner of her death, although I haven't played that game so can't comment on how accurate that is.

Two other thoughts that come into my mind are:

There might actually be someone outside the elevator who knows where the camera in the lift is and is staying out of it's lline of sight but not of Elisa's. :shock: If they've got their hand on the door open button outside that might be why the doors won't close.

Also, as we have no sound, there could for all we know be someone who is talking to her while the door is open, or even shouting to scare her while the lift is moving.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#13
Now I have seen the footage, I still feel a little guilty about enjoying the story so much.

This site looks to be playing up the ghostly theme but it contains the information that the elevator video went viral when it was posted on a Chinese video site. Its authenticity seems not to have been questioned, though the framing of her antics seems to be unusually dramatic.

It also contains the unattributed statement that Elisa had bipolar disorder. Her gestures suggested that to me but other sites state she had no history of mental illness.

The lift, as some replies point out, moves to another floor after the doors have closed. Some say a service key would be necessary to produce this erratic pattern but I suspect her pressing so many buttons may have caused the processor to be overwhelmed and confused.

Stories of how inaccessible the rooftop was are likely to originate with the hotel and its legal advisors. The parents are suing the hotel anyway.

Here is what one reply to the Ghosttheory story says about access to the roof:
Rick: "I used to go up to the roof of this hotel when it was throwing a party or whatever with girls and sometimes the alarm went off. Sometimes it didn't. Even when it did it stopped after a few minutes and security only came up once and let me and my girl hang out and drink booze."

I'm certainly hooked on this one. Smiley resisted, for once.

edit, 1:32 pm: "Rick" response added.

edit2: The case has been bubbling away on the Web for a while. It seems Elisa, like many young people, shared her intimate thoughts with the world. She kept a blog on the Tumblr site. She declares her bipolar condition and chronicles her agitated state of mind in the period leading to her death.

Elisa Lam's Blog Quoted Extensively Here.

This tends to remove some of the mysteries quite effectively, which may be why it is ignored in many versions of the story.

edit 3, 2:20 pm: Much More Reading on the Websleuths site here.
 

OneWingedBird

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#14
Re the claims about her blog and bipolar, it isn't that uncommon in this age for people to diagnose themselves with conditions that they then blog about extensively... which seems a bit mean to say in context however that is a possibility.

It also occurs to me that assuming a 3rd party wasn't involved, or even if they were, as the water tank is on the rooftop of the building her clothes could have been thrown off and landed some distance away then got cleaned up or picked up by someone who thought nothing of it.
 

sherbetbizarre

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#15
Ronson8 said:
Very odd, she definitely seems to be seeing someone , the hand gestures look strange as if she's describing something,
To me, the hand gestures are too strange - suggesting whoever she is talking is inside her head.
 

EnolaGaia

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It appears to me that the elevator was malfunctioning, and its odd behavior may have freaked her out.

She enters the elevator from the left. In most installations, that would mean the elevator call button is situated off to the left of the frame. It was her pressing the call button that opened the door.

It appears to me that she becomes mystified as to why the elevator door doesn't close to initiate the intended movement.

She leans out through the door and retracts herself quickly, as if trying to trigger whatever sensor is supposed to cause the door to do something. Nothing happens. She moves around within the elevator. Nothing happens. She then steps slowly to the threshold - looking in the opposite direction. She then abruptly hops out into the corridor. She may still be trying to trigger some mechanism, or she may have been startled (e.g., by some noise the malfunctioning elevator made).

She stands in the corridor by the elevator door for a while, then enters the elevator and presses the buttons again (starting over). She is clearly exerting herself more on this second attempt at pushing buttons, as if in frustration.

Nothing happens. She steps out of the elevator and begins her strange hand-waving. At first, her hand waving includes extending an arm back into / across the threshold - as if to try and trigger a sensor.

Nothing happens.

She seems to get caught up in her own hand waving, and makes multiple repeating moves with her hands - as if counting. She drops her hands to her sides as if giving up, and wanders off the way she came.

She left 4 floor selection buttons lit when she left. AFter a few moments, the door closes, the elevator moves to another floor (check the corridor details closely), and one light goes out. The door closes, the elevator moves to another floor, and a second light goes out. The door closes, the third light appears to dim, and the video snippet ends.

My interpretation is that she was confused by an elevator that refused to work as expected, tried multiple times to make it work, then gave up.

If she was still close enough to see / hear the door finally close and the elevator leave her floor, it could easily have made her feel something was deliberately mocking or ignoring her.

I see a situation that might have caused her to tip 'over the edge'.

I haven't yet seen any clear indication why some sites claim this elevator incident occurred shortly before her death. If she disappeared for 19 days, how does anyone know when exactly she went to / ended up in the water tank? I can't find any suggestion there was hard evidence for when she entered the roof area.
 

kamalktk

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#19
EnolaGaia said:
I haven't yet seen any clear indication why some sites claim this elevator incident occurred shortly before her death. If she disappeared for 19 days, how does anyone know when exactly she went to / ended up in the water tank? I can't find any suggestion there was hard evidence for when she entered the roof area.
The elevator video was released after her body was found. Presumably the police examined the various security cameras installed in the hotel to investigate the death. Since this elevator had a camera, it's very likely that each elevator has a camera, and there is likely at least one camera for the lobby area.

So she apparently never took the hotel elevator after this video, and never went out of the hotel via the lobby after this video. Any credit cards or such she had would also have been checked on by police for use. The coroner's inquest (assuming there was one for her) could come up with an estimate based on the decay of the body. With no credit card activity, and no video of her in the hotel anywhere after this one, and an estimate from the coroner that fits this time frame, it's a reasonable conclusion this video was shortly before her time of death.
 

EnolaGaia

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#21
The photo at:

http://neurophilicnetwork.files.wordpre ... uttons.jpg

... allegedly shows the elevator control panel Elisa was using.

She was not wearing her eyeglasses at the time.

A number of commenters out on the 'Net have claimed she pushed the Door Hold button (bottom-most button; center row) when pushing multiple others located above.

I can't convince myself one way or the other with respect to her first go at the buttons (early in the video). Her body obscures the control panel.

However, the second time she (re-)enters the elevator and pushes buttons more demonstratively, it appears to me she might well have pushed the Door Hold button on the very bottom row.

IF so - Elisa herself would have been the cause for the elevator door failing to close as expected.
 

birdy

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#22
Hi all, there's every chance that this has been discussed here somewhere but a friend of mine posted the following article w/video to his facebook feed yesterday and I can't really decide what's going on with this
http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/mysterious-case-elisa-lam/

According to the BBC News site an Elisa Lam was found dead in the hotel water tank and LAPD are in possession of surveillance footage of her last appearance taken from the hotel elevator in which she behaves erratically. The vid (or varients of) is easy to find online and endless speculation naturally follows including supposed parallels in case to the film 'Dark Water'.

Given that Halloween is but days away I'm inclined to think the internet's imagination has gotten the better of it but I wonder what you learned folk think. I reckon it's cropped up here before as the vid has been available for months but as I've had no luck searching the forum please direct me if you know better!

Thanks! :)
 

liveinabin

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#25
Very interesting and unusual story.
I too fail to see how we can be so sure that this happened just moments before her death given that it is not known exactly when she died.

My two penn'orth - my folks came to visit us recently and stayed nearby in a newly opened hotel. It was one of the large chains, I don't recall which. To get to the reception you needed to take lift from the street entrance to the first floor. We called a lift to go back to the ground floor and when we got in there was a maintenance chap in there. He pressed the lift buttons in a certain order and we heard the sound you hear when ringing someone. The call was answered with a hello. The maintenance chap then said something along the lines of 'Hello Bob, it's Jim, can you get Fred?' At which point we got out of the lift.
It was clear to me that this guy was using the lift's emergency phone to call back to the office for some reason or other.
Could something like this be happening here?
The lift clearly has some kind of fault, could it have called through to the emergency number causing there to be a disembodied voice which would clearly disturb someone who was of a fragile state of mind?
 

EnolaGaia

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#26
Interesting theory ... The alleged photos of the elevator's control panel don't include any designated 'Call' button among the ones she is seen to push in the video. I've never heard of 'dialing' an elevator intercom / phone using the floor selector buttons, but I suppose it's possible if the unit has been switched into some sort of test or maintenance mode.
 

EnolaGaia

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#27
liveinabin1 said:
... I too fail to see how we can be so sure that this happened just moments before her death given that it is not known exactly when she died. ...
I can't even tell when the elevator video was captured. I've not seen any video clip in which I can actually read the time stamp / counter.

After rummaging through news releases posted back when the video was first mentioned, I can find claims it was recorded on 31 January - the last day she made her theretofore daily call to her parents. In some of the earliest news stories it's claimed she was thought to have gone missing on 31 January _or_ 1 February. I've never seen any indication for why they thought it might have been a day later (or why 1 February was the latest time she could have gone MIA).

She was scheduled to check out of the hotel, but it's unclear when the hotel staff expected her to leave.
 

liveinabin

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#28
EnolaGaia said:
Interesting theory ... The alleged photos of the elevator's control panel don't include any designated 'Call' button among the ones she is seen to push in the video. I've never heard of 'dialing' an elevator intercom / phone using the floor selector buttons, but I suppose it's possible if the unit has been switched into some sort of test or maintenance mode.
As I said this was a spanking new hotel, and therefore equally new lift. I don't recall what stuff the guy had with him, but I can assure you that he made what sounded like a regular telephone call through the lift control panel. I would assume that it was switched to a maintenance mode or some such though.
My folks will be staying in that hotel again in a few weeks, I shall have another look at the lift then. Of course the one she was in won't be the same, but it could have a similar phone system installed.
 

EnolaGaia

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#29
A couple of additional topics I gleaned from rummaging through old / original news releases and online discussions since then ...

The hotel is old, somewhat run-down, and specializes in offering cheap hostel-style accommodations in an area of LA that is borderline 'bad area'.

Supposedly, the hotel was using the first 5 floors only for the hostel-style visitors. Elisa was staying on the 4th floor.

Also - and again supposedly - the hotel was largely empty at the time of her disappearance. Occupancy was only a fraction of the building's overall capacity. Most of the registered occupants were in the hostel-style section (bottom 5 floors).

In the hostel-style section, there are community bathrooms that visitors must share. One theory suggested Elisa had gone to the bathroom, found the one(s) on her floor already occupied, and had gone in search of an open bathroom on another floor.

Some of the folks focused on the buttons she pushed claim she pushed the top button in the center column on the control panel. This would have been the button for the 14th floor. That button doesn't light up in the video. This has been taken by some to suggest she was already on the 14th (of 15) floors. I can't convince myself one way or the other with respect to whether she pushed the very top button.

If she _was_ on the 14th floor, she was outside the hostel-style section, there were no bathrooms available from the corridor, and she was already within two levels of the roof.
 
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