On February 19th, 2013 the decomposing body of twenty-one year old college student Elisa Lam was found inside of a water tank atop Los Angeles’ Cecil Hotel. After guests staying at the hotel reported foul tasting, blackish-brown water coming from their faucets, hotel staff were propelled to locate the source of the ill-tasting water and upon inspection, they discovered her remains.
Elisa was reported missing on January 31st, 2013 after she didn’t check in with her parents (whom she usually spoke to on a regular basis) and an investigation into her disappearance ensued. Since she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, she was taking medication to keep these conditions under control. It was initially assumed that she had gotten off of her medication and something terrible had happened.
Weeks went by with no leads and the now infamous elevator video was released. This video depicted what appeared to be an extremely distraught Elisa, attempting to hide from someone or something inside of a broken elevator. She eventually steps out of frame and is never seen alive again.
The obvious explanation here is that she was not on her medication and was having some type of psychotic episode. This still doesn’t explain how she found herself inside of the water tank (which would have been almost impossible for her to trap herself in) and some people believe that the video itself was actually edited in an attempt to cover up whatever it was that Elisa had encountered.
Toxicology and autopsy reports showed no illegal substances or alcohol in her body, trace amounts of her medication (implying that she was on them at the time of death which essentially rules out any episodes), and there were no signs of rape, foul play or apparent suicide.
One theory suggests that Elisa may have had a run in with some hotel staff which led her murder and a subsequent cover up. It would make sense as they would have the means to edit videos, move throughout the hotel without any suspicion, and would have intimate knowledge of patrols and security protocol. No suspects have charged however and her death has been ruled as an accidental drowning.
Elisa's strange case is just another in a line of wicked goings on atThe Cecil Hotel. With a guest list including serial killers Jack Unterweger, Richard Ramierez, and numerous reports of other paranormal happenings, the hotel has definitely had it's fair share of controversy over the years.
The final and most chilling detail of this story is that it mirrors the plot of the 2005 horror film, Dark Water.