I read a lot of true crime.
No matter how upsetting the story, I can usually put it aside after I’ve finished reading. Not so with the sad, strange case of Elisa Lam.
Lam, a 21-year-old Vancouver woman, went missing during a solo trip to Los Angeles in 2013. She’d been in regular contact with her parents, who knew something was wrong when their daughter stopped keeping in touch.
She was staying in the Cecil Hotel (now renamed Stay on Main), a hotel which rivals The Overlook when it comes to dark, macabre history. At least three people were murdered there, and several others committed suicide. Two serial killers, including “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, resided there, and it was apparently the last place Elizabeth “The Black Dahlia” Short was seen alive. Strange stuff.
Lam went missing on January 31, 2013. Chillingly, her decomposed nude body was found in the water tank of the hotel only after the Cecil’s guests complained that the water had a funny smell and taste. There were also problems with water pressure.
The rooftop water tank is extremely difficult to access. When this case first made headlines, there were many reports of the water tanks and/or the door to the roof being locked. So how on earth did Lam get there? And if she jumped in herself, where were her clothes? Are we supposed to believe she walked through the hotel naked to get to the roof?
Adding to the disturbing aspects of this crime is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen–this footage of Elisa Lam in the hotel elevator on the night of her death. She certainly seems to be hiding from someone, and as you can see, she’s fully dressed.
After an autopsy report revealed no trace of drugs or alcohol in her system, Lam’s depression was blamed for her death, and her demise was ruled an “accident.”
I don’t buy it.
The above entry from her blog, while obviously not happy, doesn’t sound like someone who has lost her mind to the point she’d think imaginary people were following her. And it doesn’t answer these questions, either:
- Where were her clothes?
- How did she get on the rooftop and into the water tank by herself?
- What was going on in the elevator? Why didn’t that damn door ever close while she was in it?
- Why did she plan a trip to Santa Cruz if she planned to kill herself in L.A.? L.A. was supposed to be a brief stop.
Sadly, since her death has been ruled accidental, the official case of Elisa Lam is closed, unless new evidence is uncovered.
Personally, I think she was murdered, and not by a ghost, either.
What do you think? Be sure to read the comments from Robert, the elevator mechanic, below. They add an interesting dimension to this story.
Sign up for my Hidden Library for more unsolved mysteries and lots of free books.
PS: You may also be interested in the eerie Dyatlov Pass case.
Her story has always intrigued me as well.
I can’t believe they found out she was depressed and then decided that explained everything. It seems so wrong to me.
This case sickens me. The police were fully aware that at least 2 employees of the cecil hotel at that time were sex offenders. Elisa Lam was raped and murdered, her body discarded in the water tank. Again, sickening. The police should be hung by their toenails.
I agree, Kevin. I didn’t know that about the sex offenders. Where did you find that info?
do you know the names? this is very important. I’m trying to solve it but I don’t have many ideas. I really need the help. I can mention you if you want
I need the names, I’m trying to solve it it will help a lot. this is very VERY important I can list your name if you want
OMG, this is SO creepy! I hadn’t heard about her case, it’s so creepy – but that video??
I DIE. She’s acting so strangely in it, and how she jumps out of the elevator looks almost like she’s expecting someone to be there and is being playful. I’m glad you posted this today when Jesse’s coming home, because otherwise I wouldn’t sleep tonight. Awesome story!
Thanks, Kyla. That video led a lot of people to believe that there was something supernatural involved. For instance, why does the elevator door never close, even when she presses all the buttons? It only closes after she’s gone.
I think she ran into something evil of the human persuasion, but I still don’t understand the elevator. Usually you can barely get inside one without the doors starting to close on you!
Wow… I hadn’t heard about it before either…but just killed 30 minutes searching for articles about her on the web… ;0))) Truly creepy indeed…
I am intrigued by stories with unresolved endings – kind of like the Serial podcast… So many speculations but no concrete answers…
That’s exactly what I did when I first found out about it, although I’m sure it was more than twenty minutes!
I’ve heard great things about that podcast. One of these days I’m going to have to check it out.
Stories with unresolved endings get stuck in my thoughts for days after I hear them too…
Thanks for commenting, Jen, and welcome to my blog. This one really gets to me. I hope there is justice for Elisa one day.
OMG, the elevator door! What in the world? Why didn’t it close for over 3 minutes? So bizarre. I had heard about her death – girl in water tower on roof, but the rest of it is new/news to me. Very interesting.
I’m visiting from the Daring Creative Workshop. xo
Thanks for visiting, Carrie! For some reason, your post was marked as spam, so I’m just seeing it now. I’ll definitely return the favour when I’m back from vacation.
I’m glad you found the post interesting. The elevator door is one of the things that has always bothered me. If she’d pressed a stop or kill button, there would have been a sharp alarm that would have attracted attention.
What if the sharp alarm had been disengaged?
That’s an interesting article. These stories always creep me out, but they are somehow interesting to read, thanks for sharing!
You’re very welcome, Alice. Thanks for reading!
I got addicted to the show “Disappeared” on Netflix and I have to say, some of those stories really get to you. This one sounds familiar so it may have been covered on there? The case that haunts me is the one of the college girl who inexplicably got in her car and drove far away from campus, pulled over to the side of the road, and was never seen again. Her name was Maura Murray and her story still haunts me:
I’ve never seen that show, but it definitely sounds like something I’d be interested in. Thanks for the link, Stephanie. I’ll check it out right now.
And thanks, as always, for reading and commenting. You are awesome.
I remember this case well. It’s incredibly suspicious, but in a town like LA there are so many homicides I think the police are too overwhelmed to dig into something strange like this. My first reaction is that someone who worked there and had access to the roof and water tower (like a key) would be the prime suspect. She could have realized something was wrong too late. That person also would have been able to hide and cart away her clothing more easily.
A psychological issue can lead someone to behave like she does on the tape, but it can open locked doors. Unless she was a secret spy with a lock picking kit, I’d vote for the employee theory.
Still, there’s a part of me who thinks that the hotel’s history is far from coincidence. There’s a hotel that has a similarly sordid past nearby here. Apparently Al Capone used to stay there and have people knocked off in the cellar. It’s incredibly haunted, so naturally I want to stay there.
Thanks for commenting with your theory, Steven! I agree with you. I also believe she was murdered, and the employee angle makes sense. It would certainly have been easiest for an employee to hide the body in the water tank, and also been a way of flipping the bird at his employer, since the whole “dead body in the water supply” issue was quite the scandal. I believe it resulted in at least one lawsuit.
What troubled me about the tape, beyond those oddly behaving elevator doors, is that she seems almost playful. She certainly doesn’t strike me as someone depressed, but rather someone with a lot of energy. Perhaps she trusted the wrong person. It certainly seems that way.
Does it look to anyone else like she miiiiggghhht have been pushed out of the elevator? I don’t put a lot of stock in the supernatural, but that looked odd to me. And then her body language – especially standing outside the doors, when she seems to slouch against the wall then straighten, moving her hands like she’s dancing. I would guess she was under the influence of something. Nothing found in her system, but a rufi is only detectable for a very brief time…??? Curiouser and curiouser!
Welcome to my blog, Caris!
To me it looked like she jumped out and then stepped out again on her own, but her moving hands outside the elevator made it seem like she was having a conversation with someone.
Her body language was extremely strange, but it definitely doesn’t look like depression to me. She seems playful and then scared. There’s something about this video that gives me the creeps. If the police are right and her actions are just the result of her mind playing tricks on her, that’s spooky too.
Thanks so much for commenting! Hope to hear from you again.
She seems manic to me. I wondered if she had bipolar disorder. I agree, she seemed playful. It seemed odd (impulsive) for her to make a trip like this herself. Culturally, I doubt her parents would be forthcoming with a mental health history.
Her clothes (plus watch and hotel card key) were found in the tank beside her with a strange sandy substance on them.
This is in the autopsy report along with details of all the prescription drugs she was on.
Interestingly, she had black, lacy CK underwear but no bra. The shorts you see in the video are mens large size basketball shorts.
Welcome to my blog, Richard! Hope to see you back here.
Thanks for telling me about her clothes and autopsy report. I didn’t find any mention of that during my research. I still think she was likely murdered, but at least that clears up one mystery!
I’ve been thinking about this case. On a lot of elevators, the door won’t close if someone is holding the button outside. I am certain that is what happened here. Perhaps someone was flirting with her by holding the elevator button? She would naturally be creeped out at first, but she seems to be slowly seduced into engaging with that person and then eventually leaving the elevator.
Ooh…good theory, Victor! I never thought of that, but you’re right. And that’s very creepy.
Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Hope to see you again!
Yes, I think this theory is the most likely.
Thanks for commenting, Daniel!
I just became aware of the sad case of Elisa Lam about 2 weeks ago after reading a Facebook post about unexplained photos. I sincerely express my condolences to her family, friends, and acquaintances. The elevator video reminded me of when I once worked the midnight shift a long time ago as a security guard in an exclusive high rise condominium inhabited by VIPs. The security guards had keys to many areas including the roof. The security guard desk had TV monitors that could view security cameras in many areas including the elevator. If Elisa Lam was the victim of foul play then my primary suspects would the hotel employees who had access to the TV monitor to the security camera inside the elevator. This would include if there were any security guards (or other hotel employees like the front desk clerks, maintenance personnel, or cleaning staff). In my opinion, the probability of Elise Lam doing this all by herself is very slim. I think that somebody literally got away from murder and is feeling very lucky. I wonder if the evidence of foul play could have been destroyed while Elise Lam’s body was decomposing for 2 weeks in the Cecil Hotel water tank. It’s hard to believe that the LA police department could consider this case to be solved and closed (unless the police are trying to make the perpetuator have a false sense of security and are waiting for this person to strike again and hopefully confess like the character of Norman Bates in the movie Psycho).
Thanks for commenting, Charles, and welcome to my blog! Hope to see you here again.
I appreciate your insight. This is also something I’ve long suspected…that one of the staff played a part in her death. I agree that Elisa didn’t do all of this on her own. I hope you’re right about the police, but crime in that city being what it is, I suspect they’ve moved on to the cases that are easier to resolve.
I often think about Elisa’s family, and what they must be going through. Do they really think their daughter committed suicide, or do they feel she was murdered? Either way, it has to be a nightmare.
I have a theory that I would like to present. I have watched the video several times, and to me it seems like her behavior is more playful. It is like something I would do to a boyfriend if I was holding the elevator for him. She even jumps out twice to “scare” someone, this is playful behavior. I think she may have been intoxicated, but also I think someone else was there with her. She perhaps wanted to go out with them to a bar or to have fun, hence her waiting for him at the elevator. When is standing outside of the elevator I believe she is speaking to someone out of view. She flails her hands and could be explaining what fun things they could go out and do. The person she is talking to however May have talked her into going to the roof to drink and have fun… Rooftops are sometimes a place to party, also this is the perfect way for her attacker to not be seen on what I assume is the only camera in the building. As far as the elevator staying open issue, she presses the Hold button on the elevator several times which keeps it open 2 minutes at a time. If she really wanted to escape she would not have done that. I believe it was a worker or someone staying at the hotel that did this to her.
Welcome to my blog, Alexa! I hope to see you back here.
I think that’s a great theory, and very much in line with what I was thinking as well. She does seem playful, and I do not think that she committed suicide. I agree that a worker or another guest at the hotel is probably to blame–I’m leaning toward a worker, because they would know where the water tanks and the elevator cameras are.
Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Thank you for this forum. In my heart of hearts I think that Elisa may have been experiencing a manic episode and possibly gone willingly onto the roof with someone else. It’s possible that when she got onto the roof she began acting odder, and whomever she was with (likely a young male) left due to her strange behavior. If she was in a manic state, she may have honestly thought that she was going swimming, possibly even skinny dipping.
Another hypothesis, one that I don’t personally believe, but is worth pointing out, is that Elisa was playing the “Elevator Game.” You can google it, it’s very creepy.
Please don’t jump on me for my thoughts, I respect everyone’s opinion and have no desire to argue over this tragic case. I am interested in hearing others opinions.
Thanks so much for your comment, Olive. No one will jump on you here–so far, I think everyone has discussed this case calmly and respected each other’s opinions. Hopefully you thought the same.
I hadn’t heard of the Elevator Game, but I’ll definitely look into it. You’ve aroused my curiosity!
Thanks for adding your theories to this troubling and mysterious case. Hope to see you back here on the blog–you are always welcome.
For me, there are a few pointers which emerge from this video. Nothing to nail what happened to her but even so.
a) At no point do I sense she is in fear of anyone (or anything). Somewhat distracted, confused even, but not in panic mode. It’s almost as if she’s playing a game with someone. at 0:34, I can even see her smile. To me, this suggests she’s with someone, she knows who it is and, at that point, has no reason to fear the worst.
b) the elevator door not closing when she wants it to suggests that someone, unseen, is outside of camera keeping his finger on the outside button in order to override the buttons she is pressing. He, too, is playing the game – but with an alterior motive.
c) After 3 minutes or so of this, Elisa is getting fed up. Witness her reaction as she faces the unseen person. It’s like she’s saying “this isn’t fun any longer”
d) he takes his finger off the button. The door slides shut (no, the elevator isn’t faulty. He knows wnough about the CCTV system to know that, once that happens, he can step forward.
And off he takes a rather fed up but still unwitting Elisa to her fate.
Nothing paranormal about this tale. The miscreant knew the hotel inside out and made use of this knowledge. What happened finally may be as simple, though awful. a tale of a sex crime and its attempts at a cover-up.
What does “creep me out” about this video, though, is knowing that the person who killed her is literally inches outside our sight. He’s there. Tantalisingly close.
What makes it even eerier, of course, is the lack of audio.
Having been stuck alone in an elevator for almost 8 hours once, I’m very loathe to use one.
I do wonder if that same elevator is still in use at the re-branded hotel.
I’m sure it probably is, Steve. Thanks so much for your comments! I have to say that I agree with your theory. I don’t think it was a mental break, and I’m sad that the fact this girl suffered from depression helped her killer get away with it.
I think someone else was there, too.
I came across this video which was shot by a Chinese couple in the Cecil Hotel (before it was rebranded).
This actually shows the inside of the elevator in detail including the (unexpectedly sophisticated) system of buttons as well as – crucially – the view she had from within the elevator
The mirror located opposite the elevator throws a whole new angle on this case. Might she have seen someone reflected in it that night? Anyway, that mirror and its possibilities throws new light (potentially) on this case.
This is well worth watching – the elevator footage is just before the halfway mark:
Thanks for sharing, Steve. Very interesting!
– Clothes were inside the water tank with her. She probably removed them once inside the tank to make it easier to tread water.
– She probably got to the roof via the fire escape. Very easily done as demonstrated by the Chinese investigators.
– The door of the elevator didn’t close because she pushed the ‘door hold’ button which keeps the door open for 2 minutes, as found by the Chinese investigators.
– She didn’t plan to kill herself in L.A. It was an accident brought on by a hyper-manic episode, as observed by a number of mental health professionals
I have to respectfully disagree, Pablo. Why would she take her clothes off while she was in the water? That would be extremely difficult. And she didn’t seem manic in the video. She seemed like she was playing with someone.
That said, thanks for adding your theories! All thoughts about this case are welcome.
OK I didn’t realize the clothes were in the tank. But if she was struggling I can imagine they could have come off, or she could have taken them off. Actually now that I am thinking of it I did read that her hoodie or shirt was in there, but it was stuck on something on the bottom. If this is the case she probably panicked and tried to get it off.
I’m sorry to keep posting things disagreeing with you on your blog. I just don’t think this was murder. It’s definitely an odd situation, and a tragedy, but I really do think it was an accident. I do know one thing though, the Cecil was negligent in their lack of security and with their broken locks, etc… and this probably could have been avoided. I am guessing she didn’t know what kind of place she was staying at when she booked it, maybe. If you aren’t familiar with LA it’s easy to land in the wrong part of town.
Also, she was displaying odd behavior aside from the elevator stuff. She was originally assigned a shared room, and was moved to a single because the other people in the room complained of her odd behavior, so there was definitely something wrong with her, unfortunately. No matter what, the whole thing is just sad.
No problem, Daisy! Dissenting opinions are always welcome. Where did you read about the shared room? I didn’t come across that in my research, and would like to look into that a bit more.
JH I’m you not good with this stuff so bear with me. Blogs forums etc…..
The reason I am writing is because I am an elevator mechanic. I’m actually in an elevator room right now. You hit it right on the head with one of the mysterious things out Elisa. Why did that damn door not shut? You are so correct. It doesn’t matter how many buttons she pushed, That door should have closed and it only closed after she left. That bugs the hell out of me.
Wow, Robert, thanks so much for your comments! It is awesome to hear from an elevator mechanic. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, but I’ve been out of the country.
I thought that the door should have closed! Thanks for clearing this up. What came of your experiment? Did you figure anything out? Could someone other than Elisa have been controlling the door?
You know what. I’m going to study what type of elevator system is in that hotel via the other you tube link. Then I’m going to set it up on a floor, push several inside car buttons and then step outand and hold the hall button. Many elevator controllers will still close the car door even if the hall button is pushed. Anti nuisance option. I will get back back with this. The elevator door staying open is only one item out of many that are very creepy and disturbing.
The door hold button is a fire service option only used when fire service is enabled. If you mean the door reopen button, that will reset the door open time to the normal 8 second mark.That door should have closed! She even breaks the detector edge beam by going in and out, but it’s not until she finally stepped out that the door shuts. Creepy.
But the Chinese investigators (video can be viewed online) showed that when you push the door open button in that elevator the door will stay open for 2 minutes.
There’s a foot on left of the screen outside of the elevator (when she is leaving) and its at an angle that cannot possibly be her foot whilst walking to the left.
Really? I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for commenting! I never noticed it.
If you watch the video very carefully you’ll see that at one point she takes a step with her ankle twisted completely inwards. She was double-jointed. It’s almost certainly her foot.
I believe the step that she takes with her ankle twisted is still nowhere near the angle which would have been needed for the foot in the video to be hers. In addition, the toes of the foot appear to be facing the elevator, which is the opposite direction from where she is heading.
I just re-watched the video and you are completely right. There IS another foot, and it can’t be hers.
Start watching at approximately 2 minutes 25 seconds, just a few seconds before she turns to walk away for the last time. As she walks away, there is a foot wearing a dark shoe with the toes facing towards the elevator.
Hi, I clicked over here after reading the creepy doll story this morning. I keep looking at my large deck door into the pre-dawn darkness. There is a lot of evil out there! (But, maybe not in small town MN). I read all the comments because they were so interesting. My first reaction was also an employee, maybe even a security person because they have access to all the secret passageways, and into the water tank. A girl wouldn’t commit suicide by searching out the roof access, then somehow getting the water tank open and just jump in? If anything, she would just jump off the roof. And, having “blue” days does not mean that someone is suicidal. Her parents must be furious.
Funny you say that Mary. Almost all of the evilness I write is set in small-town Minnesota. 🙂
I think it was murder as well. And it’s so sad that the fact that she was depressed is letting some evil creep get away with murder.
I’m finding all the comments interesting. Clearly, to me, this is murder. How would she open the locks to the water tank? And of course, after she allegedly killed herself, she then dragged her dead body out and relocked everything??? Why is no one mentioning the locks? I thought I read that there were locks on everything? How could the case have been classified as “accidental” or “suicide” if locks were placed on the areas? Also, she was a small girl. Why would she be wearing shorts so large? How would they stay up without altering? I’m small and I know that shorts that large will NOT stay on – and I’m not talking about in the water. I’m talking about while walking around.
Thank you for a wonderful blog.
Wow, thank you for the wonderful comments, Michelle. I really appreciate it! Welcome to my blog.
I agree with you. I don’t think there’s any way this *wasn’t* murder. But unfortunately, now that the cops have closed the case, there will be no justice for Elisa or her family. 🙁
The water tank lids were not locked, and when Santiago Lopez found her body he said the lid was off.
exactly. There were lots of “supposed tos” in this case. The access to the roof was supposed to be locked and alarmed. It wasn’t, and still wasn’t after her murder as many bloggers have been able to access the roof and get to the water tanks. The tanks NOW have locks on them, but even though they were supposed to, they did not at the time. The Cecil is/was a dump, and it’s not hard to believe that shortcuts were taken, things were not fixed, and not everything was up to code.
I have a theory that somebody is in another elevator ( either upper or down floor in within the floor she’s at) is also press button along with her. The other person is using stair going down or up from either floor looking for her. That might be the reason she is being playful and kind of in ‘eeri excitement’ movement while in the elevator. This person possibly give her something that cause her to end up kinda playful. She’s been bait up into some kind of excitement that leading to her and this whoever, to the rooftop. Maybe out of the excitement she is then murdered.
Its really strange how the elevator never seems to close. Was it someone holding it or was a supernatural force holding it?
People say she had a disease causing her to act in a bizarre way. Fair enough. But why wouldn’t the elevator door close for 3 minutes really creeps me out.
I really think someone was chasing her, stopped her lift, poisoned her and threw her in the tank.
I have listened to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of information about this story and I believe she went up there herself and died either accidentally or on purpose.
Several people have visited the Cecil (or Stay on Main) since this happened and were able to access the roof, even though it was supposed to be secure. I have no doubt Elisa was able to get up there on her own. There are a lot of pipes and stuff up there that would make it pretty much impossible for someone to have carried her up there (though I guess they could have lured her) and seeing the ladder to get up to the top of the water tank I can’t see anyone being able to carry a person up there.
I think she went up to the roof for some unknown reason. As for her clothes, I think she took them off before she got in the tank. I’m certain in the time between when she went missing and was found the clothes would have blown off, and being in an area with so many homeless people, the clothes were either taken by someone or simply thrown away.
I think it’s been verified that she had a mental illness and I think she was just having a hard time with this during the trip, having some kind of episode where her illness was ramping up, causing her odd behavior.
As for the elevator, I don’t know why the door didn’t close, or what her behavior was about, but I did read that from the vantage point of where we see her, the call button for the elevator would have been to the left, where she keeps looking out to the right, so not toward the call button between the two elevators. She could have been imagining things, or when the doors weren’t closing due to a mechanical error it triggered something with her illness and caused her to start behaving oddly.
Really, the whole thing is weird, that’s for sure, but I actually think the police got it right on this one. I think she went into the tank for whatever reason, and that the lid closed on her. Seeing pictures of the tank from the top, there is a pipe that would stop the lid from opening all the way (if possible) to be completely open where it was laying on the top of the tank, so it was at the most at a 90 degree angle, possibly less. Depending on the mechanism or it could have just closed on her and then she couldn’t get out, even if she had wanted to.
Yikes! What a terrible way to die.
She seems manic to me. I wondered if she had bipolar disorder. I agree, she seemed playful. It seemed odd (impulsive) for her to make a trip like this herself. Culturally, I doubt her parents would be forthcoming with a mental health history.
I completely agree with you Daisy. I think she had a mental break of some sort. This was not the Hilton Hotel. The Cecil was always a dump. Of course the staff are going to say everything was locked. I’m a nurse, I saw a fellow just last week take off his clothes and fight a fire hydrant – no drugs involved. No reason for his decisions other than in his mind.
I first found out about this tragic story only yesterday, accidentally, while viewing an unsolved mysteries video on YouTube. I am absolutely amazed, saddened and horrified that there hasn’t been any further evidence brought to light on this tragic incident, and that her case has been closed. No forensic evidence found?Or further CCTV footage found of Elisa, either in the hotel itself or cameras on other buildings near the hotel? In the short time I’ve managed to research the case, I haven’t found any interviews or posts on the internet from her parents, or any of her family or friends. To me, and clearly many others as well, something just isn’t sitting right with this. I sincerely hope that this tragic incident gets solved, and hope 2016 is the year it does. God be with you and your family, Elisa. Rest In Peace, girl.
Check out these sites which document some of her internet activity-
There is a mind-blowing coincidence in this case
What a creepy story and case again. You would think her parents might like to get to the bottom of this, But, without any professionals to help, how can they find out what happened?
In these cases, I wish a journalist would hook onto the case and make it his/her intriguing task and job to investigate and report. I don’t believe Lam committed suicide either. Regardless of the missing clothes – why would someone who wants to kill herself make that task so hard??
Exactly! I’d love to do it if I could afford it. Someone with a name should try a crowdfunding campaign.
I’ve seen the video before without any real context where someone was claiming the girl was possessed. I thought it was fake at that point, but learning about the horrible circumstances, obviously it isn’t fake.
I don’t really know what to make of it, but I’d be willing to bet it wasn’t a straight forward suicide. I noticed another comment mentioned the elevator ritual and I have to admit that was my first thought!
I definitely don’t think it was a suicide. It just doesn’t fit.
It is indeed a very strange story. I remember seeing the footage of her in the elevator. Her behaviour was bizarre to say the least. You can’t help wondering what it is she saw – or thought she saw – that spooked her so much. As for her mysterious death… I still wonder.
You and me both, Catherine.
Looks to me like they just wanted to close the case. I DON”T BUY IT! I read a lot of crime and watch a lot of TV shows, like Forensic Files and ID. I may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but I’m no dummy either.
sherry @ fundinmental
Exactly, Sherry. I agree. I don’t buy it, either.
So I watched this a couple of times plus I do remember this case and I don’t believe she killed herself or decided to to go and swim in the water tower. She is doing something with the elevator buttons but it looks like she is having fun and you don’t have fun like this all by yourself. She was murdered of that I am surebut there is so little evidence that the cops would not know where to begin plus they may have been bought off. She seems to like talking with her hands and, if not, could she have been doing some sign language?? If she was down, a predator can detect this and would befriend her to get her to trust him. She could have been tipsy and looking at the buttons and the. Pressing them because I have been in that state of disrepair. I remember looking at the buttons like I was contemplating life but all I was trying to do was concentrate on hitting the right button. The sad point is that she is dead and her case is closed. The family is left distraught and the killer runs free and that is the shame of it
Agreed, Birgit. You have some good points. I also strongly believe that she was murdered.
The City Fathers probably pushed for a non-murder decision from the police. That hotel has a bad enough reputation without adding to it and hurting the tourist trade, right? If she had been from an influencial family, matters would have gone differently I am sure. 🙁
Got both your comments without a problem, Roland. Thanks!
That’s an interesting theory. I hope it isn’t true. It would be awful if the only justice was for the rich.
Let’s try this again. Sigh. This blog hates me and my comments apparently. I believe the City Fathers did not want another sensational murder in that already infamous hotel. Had her parents been wealthy and influencial, matters would have gone differently I am sure. 🙁
That case always perplexes me whenever I read it about.
I know, right? So bizarre.
It really appears that:
1. The elevator was severely malfunctioning OR someone was overriding her to force her to take the stairs or something.
2. At one point, it seems either she was off her rocker on meth OR she was talking down the hall to someone -with lots of hand language.
I’m with you that this case should not have been closed.
There’s so many unanswered questions with this one, for sure.
I haven’t heard of this case before, but I did watch the elevator footage. It’s rather spooky, and I wonder how that elevator door stayed open for so long. I definitely don’t think her death was as easy as an accident.
Agreed, Cherie. If you read the elevator mechanic’s comments below, they’re really interesting.
The elevator game is creepy at best, but there are creepier ones and some do lead to death, usually by suicide. I can see why this death lead to no answers, but how sad the investigation is now closed.
Very sad. I think they gave up way too quickly.
I started reading some of the comments under the video footage about the “elevator game” where if you press buttons in a certain way you go to another world, but if you don’t do something right, you can’t return or something terrible happens if you do. Very odd stuff. This seems like a movie along the lines of The Ring waiting to be written.
I know, right? I try to keep an open mind, but that’s a bit farfetched, even for me. It would make a good movie, though.
Even if she did have mental illness, this looks like a murder case. The elevator oddities, her “interaction” with someone unseen, and the issue of the locks all point to someone else being involved. Did that person murder her, or did they flirt with her, go skinny dipping in the tank with her, and then … she drowned – either accidentally or on purpose? Or was it premeditated? The fact that the other person stayed out of view of the camera points towards that. I can’t imagine why this was shut as a case.
I’m with you, Ty. 100%. Thanks for commenting.
Dude. That is creepy. And to imagine they found her because guests were using the water… *shudder*
Yeah, it definitely ups the gross-out factor of this story. That poor girl.
I read somewhere her phone was never found either and that 28 days after her body was discovered someone uploaded a picture of a tarot card that represents solitude to her blog and it came from her phone
Richard, what was “interesting” about the lacy CK underpants and no bra? I didn’t understand the significance.
Chinese girls don’t routinely go braless. Black lacy panties are what one wears when they’re anticipating hooking up sexually. Wearing men’s shorts besides means to me she just had sex with somebody, probably in the hotel.
Her clothing was in the tank, she was manic depressive and had medication for it—her sister admitted that. The hotel elevator had a hold button that she kept pushing. A hold button holds the doors open so someone can load all their luggage into the elevator alone without risking the door shutting and taking off with their stuff. There are youtube videos of the elevator and the roof and there is a lot of info from the parents’ wrongful death suit that ended up being thrown out.
This girl was on medication. You can tell by the way she’s acting like a 5 year old in the elevator something’s wrong with her. My question is how would her parents allow her knowing she’s on medicine to go by herself on a long journey. Her roommates at the Cecil complained about her acting weird. She was probably acting like a nut job in the room and freaked the roommates out. People like this are emotionally unstable and are naive. I think an employee had his was with her and put her in the tank to avoid jail. Employees can bypass alarms and they have keys to the building
There is a lot of things missing in this event. Unless her body was not in the tank at the time, The PD K9 crew should be fired, even the dogs, because they did not get a sent on the roof. Maybe they didn’t check the roof. I don’t know. Just another strange thing about this event.
The reason the Elevator door didn’t close is because she pressed all the buttons in the vertical middle row. There is a door hold button that will keep the door open for about 2 minutes.
I personally think she was befriending a staff person or a tenant. I think in the elevator video, she was playing games with them and they were down the hall to the left. The roof can be access 3 different ways but if an employee or tenant has access to the roof, maybe that is how she got access. There is evidence the roof was frequented a lot by people. I have read there is empty beer bottles and graffiti found there. I think the hotel was slack on that area and the tanks entry covers. I think they left the covers off some of the tanks all the time. This could have been because of maybe water treatment and if the top is off it can speed up time. I am sorry for a long comment but her story will intrigue my until my death.
With respect, RIP Elisa
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sam.
I am sorry, when I said she was befriending with a person in the left of the hall I meant the right on the elevator.
I am sorry, I ment down the hall to the right.
I’m late to the party, but still intrigued, disgusted, and disturbed by this case.
Clearly she was murdered. I do have a main suspect. But there is no way she would have made it up to that roof, into a 10 foot water tank, and able to shut and latch it. That is not possible. The video surveillance only confirms this. I don’t see someone having a psychotic break; I see someone scared of a predator.
It’s not possible she could have gotten into that tank herself. And without her clothes? When earlier that day she was at the bookstore buying suveniers to take home to her family? She was murdered. The sickest part is that they didn’t look further into this.
Here is a site that lists all of Elisa Lam’s web pages-
She also had a Formspring page (http://www.formspring.me/mariniere) which is now defunct but has been archived-
Evidence could point to psychosis caused by the four prescription drugs she was taking, all of which carry suicide and akathisia warnings.
She wasn’t just depressed, she was bipolar and was apparently struggling to find the right dose of medication. It’s been a while since I read about this but I remember that traces of antidepressants were found in her body, but that she stopped taking her other pills a few days before her death.
When people with bipolar disorder only take antidepressants, they can end up getting severe hallucinations and psychotic episodes. It looks like that was happening in the elevator, and is probably also what caused Elisa to undress and get in the tank (I heard her clothes were found nearby the tank, and that the roof and tank were easily accessible). The forensic report also doesn’t show any signs she was raped. There was some rectal bleeding, but that’s normal when a body lies in the water for days.
This case sure is bizzare, but I really believe this was an accident. Poor Elisa 🙁
I think she would have made an excellent writer, by the way. Her posts on Tumblr show a lot of skill.
I don’t know if anyone here has already mentioned it, but there is a documentary on Netflix that talks about the case. It is called “Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel”.