Coroner says drugs not a factor in Elisa Lam’s mysterious death
Drugs did not contribute to the death of a Canadian tourist whose body was discovered in a water tank atop a downtown Los Angeles hotel four months ago, coroner’s officials said.
A maintainence worker discovered the body of Elisa Lam, 21, on Feb. 19 after residents of the Cecil Hotel complained about low water pressure. At the time Lam had been missing for several weeks from the hotel after traveling there from Vancouver, Canada.
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said Thursday that Lam died of an accidental drowning. Her bipolar disorder was a significant condition but authorities did not elaborate.
Coroner’s officials noted that the medical examination found no visible signs of trauma on the body and toxicology tests found nothing that contributed to her death.
Lam had been missing for three weeks before being found. During that time, detectives with the LAPD‘s robbery-homicide division appealed to the public for help in the case that included the release of video of her inside a Cecil Hotel elevator. In surveillance footage, Lam could be seen pushing buttons for multiple floors and at one point stepping out of the elevator and waving her arms.
The only ways to get to the roof are via a locked door that only employees have access to and a fire escape. The door is equipped with an alarm system that notifies hotel personnel if someone is on the roof, Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.
Lam’s case inspired amateur sleuths to post numerous theories on websites about what might have happened to her. International media outlets, particularly in Canada and China, have also continued their coverage of the story.
Much of the speculation focused on the surveillance video of Lam in the hotel elevator. The video went viral on the Chinese video site Youku.com, with more than 3 million views and 40,000 comments in a 10-day span.
Many commenters said they were disturbed by the tape, with one calling it “spooky.”
“I knew about Elisa Lam but this is the first time I saw the video,” one wrote. “I’m so scared, I’m shaking. I’m numb.”
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.