Elisa Lam: More Questions than Answers

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It is very heartbreaking when a young person passes away before their time. It is even worse when the situation surrounding their death leaves you with more questions than answers. That is what happened to the family of Elisa Lam, who are hurt, scared and grieving the death of their child.  Please keep in mind that while this post contains thoughts and theories about what happened to Elisa Lam, she is a real person who has friends and family that love and miss her. They deserve to know the truth as to what really happened to her and I fear they will never get the closer that they need. By keeping a dialog alive, then we keep her memory alive and maybe someone, somewhere will put all the constantly moving parts together and bring this all to a close. This will be an introduction to the case. The conspiracy theories will be explored in more depth in another post.

A smiling Asian woman wearing a red scarf and black coat

Elisa Lam, was a 21 year old Canadian student who disappeared in 2013 after spending time on a holiday traveling to several places in Canada and the United States. Eventually, she made her way to the Cecile Hotel in Las Angeles, which is one of the most unsettling places to choose to visit. It is located on skid row, and is known for several interesting guests such as 2 serial killers. Why Elisa choose to stay here is highly questionable when there were more affordable options in much safer areas. During her travels, Elisa stayed connected with friends and family via social media. She posted several times a day things that were pretty normal. While on her holiday, she strangely went silent. She called her parents every single day, and when they didn’t hear from their daughter, they called the police. This launched an investigation that lead police, hotel staff, and her family believing that a crime had been committed.

A week after she went missing, the hotel released the now famous hotel footage of Elisa Lam. This quickly went viral because of how odd the whole thing seemed. I will link the full video below. If you haven’t watched it already, I must warn you that it is very unsettling. While there is no violence or anything but a young girl acting strange in an elevator, it has upset a lot of people. What is very odd is this video footage is very long, but the doors the the elevator remain open for a very long time. The video supposedly is uncut and shows a woman who could be Elisa Lam getting into the elevator, pushing all of the buttons, act like she is hiding, and then walk in and out of the elevator. One of those times, it looks as though she is speaking to someone, and her arms and hands are waving around in a strange way. Elisa disappears out of frame, and the elevator then closes and all of a sudden, seems to work just fine by stopping on each floor and opening and closing. The whole thing is not only strange, but unbelievable. Sadly, it gets much worse.

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Twenty days after she first went missing, the guests at the hotel started to complain of black water coming out of their spouts that tasted really bad. They also said the water pressure was very low. A maintenance team members went to the roof, and climbed the 8 foot high water tower, and removed the 25 pound lid. This is where the body of Elisa Lam was found, naked with all of her clothing and effects floating in the water with her. However, Elisa’s cell phone was missing.  Her body was damaged badly, but theorized that she had been there since she had been reported missing. If you put two and two together, then you realize the hotel was drinking her remains. The water tower had to be cut open and drained in order to remove Elisa’s body because the opening was too small to retrieve her. Sadly, the search was of course over, but the questions had just began.

Was this foul play, an accident, or suicide? While there was an autopsy done, it can be considered inconclusive since her blood was not preserved. Samples taken from her liver showed no illegal drugs, and trace amounts of Ibuprofen and Sinutab. She did not appear to be sexually assaulted, but  it was unknown if she had been beaten because of the state of her body. It can’t be ruled out that Elisa Lam was killed or forced into the water. It also can’t be ruled out that she committed suicide either. While this doesn’t seem likely, it’s not impossible. Even though going to the roof was no easy task, it could be done.  If you go the traditional way, which is through the door, you need to have a hotel staff key. If you don’t and get the door open, it will trigger an alarm. There is a fire escape, but you must be able to jump up and pull down the ladder. It can be done, and several YouTubers did prove that you can get on top of that roof. However, it is not easy and it always took more than one person to do this.

What if this was an accident? Elisa Lam was known to suffer from mental illness and this made many people think that she had an episode and accidentally hurt herself. I believe this is a very slippery slope and an all too easy and dangerous thing to blame this whole thing on. Mental illness has a very bad wrap, and those who suffer from it are surrounded with a lot of prejudice and misinformation. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was given medication. Bipolar disorder is an illness that is known as a manic disorder with very depressed states, and very heighten states of emotion. There is a lot of variety to the illness with people going from low to lower, high to higher, and back and forth between the two. While many people fall somewhere in the middle, there are some extreme cases where people experience manic episodes. This is not a gradual thing, but something that builds up over several days or even weeks. The person may have gotten little to no sleep, and start to participate in risky behavior. This is where the misunderstanding comes from that people suffering from bipolar disorder hear voices and think people are there who aren’t real. While it can happen, it is extremely rare. Most of the time, when people who suffer from bipolar disorder who think they are hearing voices and seeing things only due this because of high risk behavior. This means that they likely indulged in drugs and alcohol which resulted in hallucinations.

No one thought she was heading for a break, which makes this an unlikely excuse.  Although, the hotel reported that Elisa was asked to change rooms by her roommates because of her odd behavior. Strange enough, they could never prove that Elisa had any roommate or find who supposedly made this statement. The LA police’s official ruling was that Elisa died from an accident due to issues with bipolar disorder.  Elisa’s parents sued the hotel, as well as the county over her death and this ruling.  Elisa was very open about her mental illness and never tried to hide it, or what it did to her. She took her medicine, but it seems as though she may have skipped some. However, the autopsy was inconclusive because of what little evidence they could retrieve from her body. We really don’t know. While she had a history of issues with struggling with her mental illness, she took measures to get help. For example, she dropped out a school for a time to get treatment and then went back after she was more stable. To me, this young lady knew her illness well enough to understand when a bad time could be around the corner. Elisa had taken steps to help herself before, so it would be logical that if she thought it was going to happen again, she would seek out help. Keeping this in mind, it is hard to conclude suicide either.

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So, how did Elisa Lam die? Did someone murder her? Was there actually a person just out of frame that we never saw? She may have been actually talking to a real person who made her afraid or nervous which made her frail her limbs about when she was talking. She visibly seemed to be hiding from someone. She peeked out the door, and then quickly came back inside the elevator and stood as though she was hiding. She peered around the corner after the door remained open. Honestly, my thoughts the very first time I watched the video was that Elisa was hiding from someone. Someone was following her. But I feel it was someone she wanted to avoid but she didn’t know why, and with the confusion of the elevator not working properly, she felt she had to address that person head on. That may have been what cost Elisa her life. At the very least, this was a highly dangerous place for anyone to be, especially a woman traveling alone.

We have gone over a few possibilities of how Elisa died. Somehow, her body ended up in the water tank, and many believe she couldn’t have done that to herself. While others think that’s exactly what happened, they agree that she may have not meant to harm herself in the process. There are some very dark, and very scary theories as to what really happened to this young woman. While some may be wild, there may be bits of truth in them which is why they need to be explored. Elisa’s truth needs to be told, even it’s strange way to get there.

Elisa Lam Hotel Surveillance Video: Full

Click the above link to see for yourself the “whole” video. What are your theories as to what happened to Elisa Lam?


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