The Strange Events Surrounding The Death Of Elisa Lam
People die unexpectedly all the time, but every so often one of those unexpected deaths is surrounded in mysterious or strange circumstances which make the death of particular interest. Once such mysterious death was that of Elisa Lam, the 21 year old student who died in 2013 under some very odd circumstances at the notorious Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. Let’s take a closer look at some of the strange events leading up to the death of this young woman.
Elisa Lam started her trip in San Diego before heading to Los Angeles. She arrived in the City of Angels on January 26 and it is unclear where she stayed during the first 2 days, but on January 28 she checked in to The Cecil Hotel in Downtown LA. She was first of all placed in a shared room until her room-mate complained about her having very odd behaviours. Two days later Elisa was moved into her own room at the hotel.
The Cecil Hotel was a place that had a pretty bad reputation and it probably wasn’t the type of place that a young girl like Elisa should have been staying alone. Built in the 1920s, the Cecil was originally intended for travelling business men, but during the Great Depression of the 1930s it fell on hard times and the entire downtown area of Los Angeles began to decay. Over the years, the Cecil began to gain a less than favourable reputation as the number of high profile deaths linked to the hotel began to pile up. It is believed that Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia was last seen alive at the hotel before she was found mutilated and severed in two just over 5 miles away in Leimert Park. In 1964, Goldie Osgood aka the pigeon lady of Perishing Square was raped and murdered in her room at the Cecil. The Cecil also served as a home to prolific serial killers Jack Unterweger and Richard ‘the Night Stalker’ Ramirez while they were active. This is all before we even mention the multiple suicides. Several guests have killed themselves at the Cecil Hotel, earning it the nickname ‘Suicide Tower’. One suicide even killed a pedestrian who was passing the hotel when someone threw themselves from the window!
It is likely that young Elisa chose this hotel based on price, since it is a particularly cheap place to say. It may also have been based on the proximity to LA’s garment district since her blog does indicate a keen interest in fashion. Elisa was due to stay at the Cecil from January 26 until January 31 when she was due to leave for Santa Cruz. She had been in daily contact with her parents, so when she didn’t call on January 31 they were concerned and raised the alarm. Staff at the hotel recalled seeing her that day and the manager of a local book store also reported having chatted with her while she was buying books and gifts for her family. She told the book store manager that she was leaving LA that day and was careful to choose books that wouldn’t be too heavy to carry on her travels. She went on to describe Elisa as outgoing, lively and friendly – a fact that would become very important later on in the investigation!
Police searched Elisa’s room at the Cecil and even used sniffer dogs in the building and on the rooftop. The dogs didn’t pick up her scent and not all of the rooms were searched as the police did not have a probable cause to allow them to do so. After a week of searching for the missing girl, police amped things up and started making media appeals and passing out flyers in the neighborhood to raise public awareness. However, nobody seemed to have seen Elisa after January 31.
A Disturbing Discovery
On February 19, almost 3 weeks after Elisa Lam’s death a disturbing discovery was made. Residents at The Cecil Hotel began to complain about the water. Several people had complained of unusually low water pressure in their rooms, while others had complained of a foul taste and odour and and odd colour in the water. The hotel sent a maintenance employee to check the 4 water tanks on the roof to see if there was any obvious explanation. What the employee discovered was something that he could never have anticipated. On opening one of the tanks he discovered the naked body of Elisa Lam floating face up a few inches below the surface. The problems with the water were caused by Elisa’s decomposing corpse. Obviously, guests were horrified that they had been drinking the water contaminated by a corpse and several off them raised lawsuits against the hotel.
Yeah this is actually a case that I’m pretty familiar with. Really fucking weird. And the part about hotel guests complaining about the water smelling funny......because there was a decaying corpse in the water tank....is super disgusting lol