Body Found in Water Tank at Hotel is Missing Canadian Tourist: LAPD

Elisa Lam, 21, was seen in surveillance video from the hotel's elevator on Feb. 1

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The body of a woman recovered Tuesday from a water tank on the roof of a downtown Los Angeles hotel is that of 21-year-old Elisa Lam, a Canadian tourist who stayed at the hotel before she disappeared several weeks ago, LAPD officials said late Tuesday.

    At about 10:15 a.m., police were called to 640 S. Main St. (map) – the address of the Cecil Hotel. The Los Angeles Fire Department also responded.

    Body Found in Hotel Water Tank May Be Missing Tourist

    [LA] Body Found in Hotel Water Tank May Be Missing Tourist
    A woman's body was found inside a water tank on top of the historic Cecil Hotel in Downtown LA Tuesday. Authorities are investigating whether the body is that of a missing Canadian tourist who was staying at hotel before she disappeared weeks ago. Lolita Lopez reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2013.

    The body was removed at about 4:30 p.m. after an urban search and rescue team worked to free the remains while trying to maintain evidence, authorities on scene said.

    Hotel guests had reported that the water pressure in the building was low, prompting a maintenance worker to visit tanks on the roof, where the body was found, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Sara Fayden.

    New Clues Surface in Disappearance of Canadian Tourist

    [LA] New Clues Surface in Disappearance of Canadian Tourist
    Newly released surveillance video shows Elisa Lam acting bizarrely inside an elevator at a Downtown Los Angeles hotel shortly before the 21-year-old disappeared last month. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2013.

    Officials were gathered on the hotel's roof at midday, and multiple emergency vehicles were parked in front of the building, including a sedan from the county coroner's officer.

    LAPD homicide detectives had been investigating the disappearance of missing Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, pictured below at right in two photos. The 21-year-old from Vancouver, B.C., had stayed at the hotel during a visit to Southern California last month.

    Canadian Tourist Goes Missing While Visiting LA

    [LA] Canadian Tourist Goes Missing While Visiting LA
    Elisa Lam, 21, was travelling alone around California, and was last seen at a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. LAPD detectives are still gathering clues, hoping her picture might spark any leads. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2013.

    Surveillance video from the hotel had shown Lam in the hotel's elevator on Feb. 1. She seemed to push multiple buttons in the elevator, then stepped in and out and appeared to hide in a corner in what authorities described as "abnormal" behavior.

    Watch: Surveillance Video

    The surveillance video is the last known image of Lam, whose parents said she had called them every day until she disappeared, according to police.

    Lam had stayed at the Cecil Hotel during a visit to LA that began Jan. 26, but when it came time for her to check out, she could not be found. She was last seen Jan. 31.

    The water tank was about three-quarters full when the body was found, according the Sgt. Rudy Lopez of the LAPD. He said the tank's metal latch could be easily opened but added that access to the hotel's roof is secured with an alarm and lock.

    A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said the agency was investigating the four 4-foot-by-8-foot water tanks to determine whether the hotel's water supply had been contaminated.

    Fire Capt. Jaime Moore said a water sample had shown "no biohazard concerns" and that the hotel's water tanks were not connected.

    Longtime hotel resident Bernard Diaz reported flooding on the fourth floor at about the time Lam disappeared, saying he heard a thump so loud one night he "fell out of bed."

    The building, located near Skid Row, is described on its website as a "beautiful vintage European-style hotel built in the 1920s."

    The single-room-occupancy hotel has an unusual history. "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, who was found guilty of 14 slayings in the 1980s, lived on the 14th floor for several months in 1985. And international serial killer Jack Unterweger is suspected of murdering three prostitutes during the time he lived there in 1991. He killed himself in jail in 1994.

    In 1962, a female occupant jumped out of one the hotel's windows, killing herself and a pedestrian on whom she landed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    City News Service contributed to this story.

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