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News

Body Found in Hotel Water Tank Matches 'body markings' of Missing Tourist Elisa Lam

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Elisa Lam (Photo courtesy LAPD)
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The female body found dead inside a water tank atop a Downtown Los Angeles hotel matches the "body markings" of missing Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, who was last seen at the hotel before she was reported missing.

Diana Figueroa of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section said authorities were able to use those markings to match the woman's body with the description of Lam, a 21-year-old University of British Columbia student visiting Los Angeles from Vancouver, reports City News Service.

Coroner's officials, however, are not releasing the identity of the body pending notification of next of kin.

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, according to CBS.

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The body was discovered Tuesday inside one of four water tanks on the roof of the Cecil Hotel after a maintenance worker went to investigate possible causes of low water pressure as reported by hotel guests and residents.

Firefighters used cutting tools to gain access to the body and remove it.

Access to the roof is allegedly protected by locks and alarms, however police say the water tanks were not locked.

Lam arrived in California January 26, and was last seen at the hotel January 31. When her family in Vancouver became alarmed that the normally communicative Lam dropped contact with them, they got in touch with authorities to report her missing. Her disappearance suggested foul play, said the LAPD from the outset.

The LAPD released surveillance video from the hotel showing Lam acting bizarrely inside an elevator.

The Cecil Hotel markets itself as a remodeled "boutique" property, however the Skid Row-adjacent hotel also houses long-term tenants and has a longstanding reputation as attracting a transient and troubled clientele. The hotel closed down Tuesday and will remain shut for a few days.

After some hotel residents and guests expressed disgust and concern about having bathed in and consumed water possibly contaminated by the corpse, public health officials indicated Tuesday that the water in the building was not going to make them sick.