The mysterious death of Elisa Lam: 10 years later, chilling theories still surround her death at Hotel Cecil

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: It’s been a decade since a young woman mysteriously disappeared before being found dead in a Los Angeles hotel. Elisa Lam was on a trip when she landed in the city in late January 2013. It was said she had booked Hotel Cecil, infamous for a number of mysterious deaths and unsolved murders, for three nights.

Initially, she was assigned a shared room before being moved to a single room due to her alleged odd behavior. However, things got worse for the 21-year-old Canadian student who suddenly disappeared on January 31 of the same year. Her last reported sighting was inside an elevator, and CCTV footage from that moment showed her acting oddly inside. In the footage, she appeared to be trying to hide from someone, but the video didn’t show who. Additionally, reports of Lam’s investigation revealed that CCTV footage of all of the angels could not be recovered.


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On February 19, 2013, Lam was found naked and dead in a hotel rooftop water tank. Eventually, his death was ruled accidental, and as Lam was taking medication due to his apparent bipolar disorder, it was thought that this also played a part in the tragedy.

“She could no longer reach out and escape”

In 2015, LAPD Detective Wallace Tennelle said: ‘My opinion is that she fell off her medication and in her condition ended up on the roof and got into the water tank. At the time, I think the water tank may have been full. But as people used the reservoir, used water, without her knowledge, the level dropped to a point where she could no longer reach out and escape, and she died that way,” CBC reported. News.

Although the investigation into Lam’s case called it an accident, it has not yet been clarified how it happened, while giving rise to many theories. The hotel is no longer in its original form as it was said to be closed at the end of 2022, and only certain long-term residents are allowed to stay there. But the stories surrounding the hotel and Lam’s death aren’t over yet.

Lam committed suicide?

Many Keyboard sleuths have suggested in the past that Lam took her own life. They referenced her Tumblr account, where she used to blog, sharing her struggles with anxiety and depression. One of his posts before his death reportedly read: “I wish I could put part of my brain in a box sealed with tape and put it in the back of my closet for the night.”

But the coroner in her case believed otherwise and said “a full review of the circumstances” did not say Lam had died by suicide.

Was foul play involved in Lam’s case?

Several web sleuths also believed that Lam was not injured but was killed. The main evidence for this theory was the CCTV footage, and they thought someone was following her. Also, online community sleuths pointed out that when the student was discovered in the tank, its lid was locked from the outside, which would not be possible for Lam to close it herself from the inside. if she went there voluntarily.

Was Lam on drugs?

This theory also surfaced after the discovery of Lam’s remains in the most shocking way. Some, referring to her behavior in the elevators, claimed she may have been on drugs and seeing things. However, “no signs of drug or alcohol intoxication” were found in Lam’s body, as reported by Vice.

Was the Lam used as a biological weapon?

Cecil Hotel was close to Skid Row, where the homeless and poor live. During Lam’s time at the hotel, the residents of Skid Row suffered from tuberculosis, and Women’s Health reported that at the time, “the test for the circulating type of tuberculosis was called the LAM-ELISA (Lipoarabinomannan ( LAM) Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)”, of the same name as the young woman.

So, many thought she was a bio-weapon to wipe out the homeless, and after the job was done, her life was taken from her.

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