LOS ANGELES — Police say the body of a woman found wedged in a water tank on the roof of a downtown hotel is that of a missing Canadian guest.
Investigators used body markings to identify 21-year-old Elisa Lam, police spokeswoman Officer Diana Figueroa said late Tuesday. A maintenance worker at the Cecil Hotel found the body earlier in the day after guests complained of low water pressure.
Elisa Lam, a student from Vancouver, British Columbia, who was visiting Southern California on her own, was last seen at the Cecil Hotel on Jan. 31. Los Angeles Police detectives had characterized her disappearance as suspicious.
Los Angeles Police Department / The Associated PressElisa Lam A security video taken in an elevator at the hotel and released by the LAPD last week showed Lam acting strangely, hiding in a corner and repeatedly peering around the elevator doors into the hallway.
A body had been found in one of four large water tanks on top of the Cecil Hotel early on Tuesday after a maintenance worker went up to investigate reports of low water pressure, a Los Angeles police spokeswoman said.
Some two dozen firefighters could be seen cutting through one of the four large, cylindrical water tanks under a canopy that shielded them from news helicopters overhead.
Investigators were trying to determine whether there was foul play in the woman’s death or “a very, very strange accident” occurred, police spokeswoman Officer Sara Faden said.
“The location of the water tanks is very small and configured in a very tight way so it’s a little more difficult to get the body out,” Faden said. The body was discovered at about 10 a.m., but officials spent much of the day struggling to remove it from the water tank.
The hotel is located in downtown Los Angeles, which has long struggled against the creeping destitution of nearby Skid Row, where drug addiction and homelessness is rampant. At the time of Lam’s disappearance, police said it appeared suspicious.
She spoke Cantonese as well as English and was known to use public transportation such as trains and buses.