Of all the stories I’ve covered on the Principled Uncertainty Podcast, I don’t think any have personally bothered me to the extent that the mysterious death of Elisa Lam has.
It is a sad, bizarre, and — forgive me for saying — spooky true crime tale straight out of Los Angeles. Not only that, there are connections to serial killers and decades-old unsolved murders here.
So, basically, it has everything that is interesting in one of these kinds of tales. There is also the threat of the supernatural, which I don’t normally get into but find completely compelling in this case.
I could go into the whole heartbreaking story here, but suffice it to say that you should one hundred percent check out this story if you’re interested in crimes that go completely unsolved.
Below, I’ve included the outline for the podcast episode, if you’re interested in the sausage-making aspect of blogging.
The Sad and Mysterious Death of Elisa [E-Lee-sa] Lam
January 26, 2013
Cecil Hotel. [Black Dahlia Connection]
February 19, 2013 — body found
Her body was found naked and floating in a 4 foot water tank on the roof of the hotel.
Hotel guests began complaining about the color and smell of the water. [Gross]
She was originally in a two-person, hostel-type room, but she was moved to her own room after her roommates complained of odd behavior from Lam.
There is surveillance footage that precedes her actual disappearance.
The footage captures Lam appearing to hide in an elevator from someone. At one point, she steps out and begins to move around in an uncharacteristic manner.
The toxicology report found no drugs or alcohol in her system.
She was bipolar and took up to four medications to help her behavior.
She died from drowning but showed no signs of physical trauma.
Here’s where it gets really weird. To get to the roof, she would have needed to (a) climb up the fire escape, which would require going through a window or (b) go out an emergency door, which would sound an alarm. No alarm was reported the day of her disappearance.
The ghost connection — Richard Ramirez stayed in the hotel from 1984-1985.
The weirdest part for me: The Black Dahlia Elizabeth Short was LAST SEEN at the Cecil Hotel before her disappearance / death in January of 1947.
A wrongful death suit was filed and later dismissed against the hotel.