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News

'Corpse Water' In Court: Guests Sue Hotel Where Tourist's Body Was Found in Rooftop Tank

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Guests who were staying at the Cecil Hotel during the time when the body of tourist Elisa Lam was as-yet undiscovered inside a water tank atop the roof have filed a lawsuit against the hotel.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Steven and Gloria Cott, according to NBC News. The Cotts shelled out $150 for a two-night stay at the longstanding Downtown L.A. hotel, and "were promised running water safe for drinking and washing."

Lam, 21, had also been a guest at the hotel during her visit from her home in Vancouver. The college student had last been seen in the hotel January 31, and was reported missing by her concerned family, who said their normally-communicative daughter had stopped contacting them.

Nearly three weeks after she was last seen, guests and residents at the hotel complained of low water pressure, which resulted in the dispatch of a maintenance man to the roof, where he took a look inside the four water cisterns there.

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Lam's body was discovered deceased inside one tank that was about three-fourths full of water. A cause of death ruling remains pending, as the coroner's office awaits results of toxicology tests on Lam's remains.A do not drink order was immediately instituted for the hotel, and remains in place. Extensive testing was done on the water, however, and health officials say the water does not contain harmful bacteria. NBC reports:

Samples taken from inside the water cistern and within the building all tested negative for fecal coliforms and total coliforms, according to Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

It did not take long for the term "corpse water" to surface, nor the scientific explanations that confirm consuming the water isn't as dangerous as one might imagine.

Bellomo adds: "It's likely there was sufficient chlorine in the tank to destroy any bacteria that might have otherwise been present."

Still, the Cotts went ahead and filed their suit, leaving the door open for other guests and tenants of the hotel to do so as well, perhaps. The Cecil Hotel has note commented about the "corpse water" or the new lawsuit.