- (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Alcom)
Elisa Lam's corpse was found in a Los Angeles hotel water tank, leading to an unsolved mystery and health concerns for those who ingested the water. Lam's death is believed to have been an accident, but more tests are being conducted to make a final determination.
"The water did have a funny taste," hotel guest Sabrina Baugh told CNN. "We never thought anything of it. We thought it was just the way it was here. The shower was awful. When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal."
The cause of the taste and odd water? The body of 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, which was discovered inside the hotel's water tank. A maintenance worker discovered her body when he was sent to figure out why water pressure was so low.
Lam's parents reported her missing in February; she was last seen on Jan. 31 at the hotel, Los Angeles Police said. They are now investigating her death, which is difficult given the condition of her body, which was in the water for possibly two weeks.
The death may be temporarily considered an accident, but there are inconsistencies that lead police to think otherwise. Sgt. Rudy Lopez told the Los Angeles Times that there is locked door that only employees have access to, and that door has an alarm to notify personnel if anyone is on the roof.
Lam would have had to purposely go up on the roof and get into the water cistern, which should have sounded the alarm. For some reason, though, it did not go off and Lam was able to get into one of the four tanks.
"We did a very thorough search of the hotel," Lopez said. "But we didn't search every room; we could only do that if we had probable cause."
Environmental authorities are conducting tests on the water to see if there was any risk posed to guests who ingested the water during the time Lam's body was in the tank.