The girl in the water tank

There were complaints of the water pressure and taste of the water; black began coming out from the faucets of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. This prompted authorities to inspect the water tanks of the hotel. They did not expect to find the decomposing body of 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, floating in the water tank face down.

Elisa was a student at the University of British Columbia visiting southern California on what she called her “West Coast tour,” according to her Tumblr page. She called her parents, David and Yinna Lam daily while she was in Los Angeles; on Jan. 31, 2013, her parents did not receive her call and contacted the Los Angeles police. David and Yinna then flew from British Columbia to Los Angeles to help with the search for their missing daughter. On Feb. 19, 2013, Elisa’s body was found in one of four 1000-gallon water tanks at the hotel which provided water to the guest rooms, the kitchen, and a coffee shop.

Elisa’s case is a strange one. What made this case popular was Elisa’s activity and actions at the hotel prior to her disappearance.

A video of Elisa getting onto an elevator made this case viral, simply because no one still seems to understand what she was doing. In the video, Elisa is seen pressing multiple buttons of the elevator and walking in and out of it. It almost appears that Elisa is trying to talk to someone, or something, that does not appear in the video – or may not even be there at all.

Elisa had previously been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and depression. She was given four prescription medications to treat her- Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Seroquel and Effexor.

I researched these medications and their side effects, thinking one of them may give an explanation to her strange behavior.

Wellbutrin, Seroquel and Effexor are all medications that help treat depression and/or Bipolar disorder. Some possible side effects of these medications can be responsible for seeing and hearing things that aren’t there, having a feeling that people are against you, thoughts of hurting oneself, vision changes, confusion, anxiety and/or unusual behavior.

However, in Elisa’s autopsy report, no drugs were found in her system. Her autopsy report also stated that there was no trauma to her body and toxicology studies did not show any drug or alcohol intoxication present.

The associate deputy medical examiner, Jason F. Tover, and senior deputy medical examiner, Yulai Wang, ended the autopsy report with their opinion: Elisa’s manner of death was accidental drowning.

The case is strange, and it does not exactly add up in my opinion. But because there were no bruises or scratches found on Elisa’s body, it appears to me that she was not murdered.

Although, there is still a mystery of how she was able to get into the water tank: whether she went in alone or if she had been forced. It seems unlikely Elisa had gone up that water tank herself. For her to get there, she would have had to gone through the fire escape – meaning she needed to climb many floors to the roof. Even if she were able to do that, she would then have to lift a 30 pound clasp at the end of the fire escape to be able to get to the roof. Elisa would have then definitely needed help to get into the water tank. Even the hotel staff needed to use a ladder to get to where Elisa was found. No other ladder was found in the area. It is also said by the hotel staff that the lid of the tank is very heavy to open and almost heavier to close from the inside.

To do all that, after seeing her state in the video, seems almost impossible. There had to have been someone helping, or even guiding Elisa to the place she died.

Still so many questions remain: if Elisa was guided, who would do that to her? Why?

Even though the autopsy ruled her death as an accidental drowning, it just does not appear to  be so. There still could have been someone leading Elisa to her death.

And because of that, this case still remains unsolved.