The Horrifying Story Of A Dead Body Discovered In A Hotel Water Tank

Suddenly those $10 mini-bar bottles of water look pretty good.

1. This is Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old from Vancouver. On Tuesday, her body was found at the bottom of a tank on the roof of the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles. She was last seen at the hotel on Jan. 31.

Los Angeles Police Department, File / AP
ID: 915049

2. The Cecil is a historic $65/night hotel near Los Angeles’ Skid Row. It once housed serial killers Richard “Nightstalker” Ramirez and Jack Unterweger.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
ID: 918840

3. Lam’s body was discovered when guests complained of low water pressure.

Nick Ut / AP
ID: 915063

4. Police have called her death suspicious, but it’s still unclear whether Lam was killed and dumped into the tank or fell into the tank.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
ID: 915066

5. Before she went missing, hotel elevator security cameras captured her strange behavior.

ID: 918647

6. Michael and Sabina Baugh, tourists from England, both showered and drank water at the Cecil.

Reed Saxon / AP

“We never thought anything of it … We thought it was just the way it was here,” Sabrina Baugh, right, told CNN. “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 moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally, especially having drank the water, we’re not well mentally,” Michael Baugh said.

ID: 915060

7. The contaminated water tank also supplied the hotel’s coffee shop and restaurant.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
ID: 915069

8. On Thursday, officials announced the water was safe from a “microbiological standpoint.” Chlorine in the water likely killed the bacteria from Lam’s body, according to the county’s director of environmental health.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters


ID: 915072

9. The only water currently flowing at the Cecil is flowing to the toilets. The hotel is working with a consultant on a plan to sanitize the rest of the lines.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
ID: 915085

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at

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