Corpse Found in Hotel Water Tank
By Alan Duke, CNN
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Tourists staying at a Los Angeles hotel bathed, brushed teeth and drank with water from a tank in which a young woman’s body was likely decomposing for more than two weeks, police said.
Elisa Lam’s corpse was found in the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank by a maintenance worker who was trying to figure out why the water pressure was low Tuesday.
Lam’s parents reported her missing in early February. The last sighting of her was in the hotel on January 31, Los Angeles Police said.
Detectives are now investigating the 21-year-old Canadian’s suspicious death, police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.
It was not clear whether the water presented any health risks. Results on tests on the water done Wednesday by the Los Angeles Public Health Department were expected later in the day.
The hotel management has not responded to CNN requests for comment.
Video appears to show four cisterns on the hotel roof.
People who stayed at the Cecil since Lam’s disappearance expressed shock about developments.
“The water did have a funny taste,” Sabrina Baugh told CNN on Wednesday. She and her husband used the water for eight days.
“We never thought anything of it,” the British woman said. “We thought it was just the way it was here.”
What she described was not normal.
“The shower was awful,” she said. “When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal.”
The hotel remained open after the discovery, but guests checking in Tuesday were told not to drink it, according to Qui Nguyen, who decided to find a new hotel Wednesday.
Nguyen said he learned about the body from a CNN reporter, not the hotel staff.
CNN’s Kyung Lah and Irving Last contributed to this report.