Elisa Lam: The girl whose mysterious death shook the world

On February 19, 2013, a 21-year-old Canadian college student named Elisa Lam was found floating naked in a water tank at the notorious Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. She was staying alone in the hotel since January 26, 2013, and was last seen there on January 31. To this day, nobody knows how exactly Elisa Lam died.

The Story Behind The Mysterious Death Of Elisa lam:

Elisa Lam
Elisa Lam

Before her death, Elisa Lam was on her solo trip around the west coast. On January 26, 2013, she arrived in Los Angeles by Amtrak train from San Diego and was heading to Santa Cruz as part of her trip.

The trip was supposed to be a getaway from her studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she was originally from.

From childhood, Elisa Lam had a disorder call Bipolar disorder, which causes a shift in unusual mood swings, energy, concentration level, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. She was on medications for this.

Therefore, her family had been wary of her travelling by herself but the young student Elisa was determined to go at it alone. As a compromise, she made sure to check in with her parents every day of the trip to let them know that she was safe.

That’s why it struck her parents as unusual when they didn’t hear from their daughter on January 31, the day she was scheduled to check out of her LA hotel, the Cecil. Her parents eventually contacted the Los Angeles Police Department. The police searched the hotel premises but couldn’t find any trace of her.

During the investigation, Police came to know that she, at first, was living in a shared room with other travellers but later on a complaint by her roommates specifying “certain odd behaviour,” she moved to a personal room. After that, no one saw her leave.

On February 15, 2013, after two weeks of the disappearance of Elisa Lam, the Los Angeles Police Department released one surveillance video from the Cecil Hotel.


This surveillance video went viral on the internet and drew worldwide attention to this missing case of Elisa Lam.

In the pixelated video released by the Los Angles Police Department, Elisa Lam can be seen Entering into the lift and pressing all the floor buttons. She steps in and out of the elevator. She peeks out sideways toward the hallways of the hotel. Before leaving the elevator entirely, she peers out the elevator for more few times. All these behaviours are strange as well as creepy at the same time.

Many theories evolved with her actions in the surveillance video released by the Los Angeles Police Department. In one of the scenes, Lam was acting like she was running and hiding from someone and also can be seen making various hand gestures.

What Happened To Elisa Lam On That Day?

Elisa Lam
Elisa Lam

Though investigators don’t have any conclusive evidence or theory exactly what happened to Elisa Lam at the hotel on that day, they summed up three possibilities mentioned below:

  • Possibility 1: She was trying to get an elevator to escape from someone who was chasing her on that floor.
  • Possibility 2: She was under the influence of ecstasy or any other drug.
  • Possibility 3: Due to Elisa Lam’s bipolar disorder, she may be experiencing a psychotic episode.

Here’s How Elisa Lam’s Body Was Discovered:

On February 19, 2013, one of the guest couple at the hotel complained to the staff about the water. They complained that black coloured water is coming out from faucet and having unpleasant smell and taste.

elisa lam mysterious death
Water tank of Cecil Hotel where Elisa Lam’s body was found floating naked.

While checking the tank, the cleaning staff found one naked human body floating on water. After reviewing the body, they came to know that the body belongs to Elisa Lam.

Here’s What Makes The Elisa Lam Case An Unsolved Mystery:

The police had conducted a massive investigation flawlessly but failed to prove how Elisa Lam got to the restricted area without triggering an alarm. Doors of the terrace are locked with keys and passcode under tight security. And access is limited only to the hotel staff.

Creepy Updates From Elisa Lam’s Social Account:

After Lam’s death, her Tumblr Account kept posting photos for the next few months. In the investigation, her phone was never recovered. Experts believe that Lam put some of her photos on auto-publishing which allows users to schedule the post for publishing it automatically. Here you can find a list of Elisa Lam’s blogs.

What Did Elisa Lam’s Autopsy Report State?

In the last, the Los Angeles Police Department closed this case by stating it as an accidental death by drowning in the autopsy report. The report also listed Lam’s Bipolar disorder as a factor contributing to, but not an immediate cause of, her death.

Here’s a copy of Elisa Lam’s original autopsy report:

Elisa Lam’s Autopsy Report

One the other hand, Lam’s toxicology report found no sign of drug or alcohol intoxication. Lam’s sister told the LA Police that Lam had been taking four different kinds of medications to treat her disorder: Wellbutrin (an anti-depressant), Lamotrigdine (an anti-convulsant), Quetiapine (an anti-epilleptic and mood stabilizer), and another one that Lam’s sister couldn’t remember. While medical examiners studied Lam for traces of the medications, they said their analysis was limited because they did not perform blood work.

Many believe the Autopsy results for Elisa Lam was inconclusive, and more tests needed regarding this rare death case.

An Infographic Of “The Mysterious Death Of Elisa Lam”

The mysterious death of Elisa Lam
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The Notorious Background Of The Cecil Hotel:

Elisa Lam's death at hotel Cecil
The Cecil Hotel, LA

Not long after the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles opened in 1924, a guest committed suicide in one of its rooms, beginning a decades-long string of murders, suicides or otherwise unexplained deaths on the property. Is it a mere coincidence or is there an underlying dark force that ties together the spooky, sinister incidents? ― The controversy still continues. Created by Investigation Discovery, “Horror At The Cecil Hotel” is a TV Series based on all these bizarre incidents happened at the Cecil Hotel that has gained huge popularity and is highly rated by reviewers.