Initial autopsy reveals nothing in L.A. death of Vancouver woman
Emergency crews retrieve Elisa Lam's body from a hotel water tank. The Vancouver student was filmed acting strangely in an elevator on Jan. 31. (COURTESY OF KTLA)
The initial results of an autopsy on the body of a Vancouver student found dead in Los Angeles have come back inconclusive with the cause of death deferred, the L.A. County Department of Coroner said.
A department spokesperson said toxicology tests will be conducted to try to determine how Elisa Lam died, but the move to begin such tests doesn’t rule out death from blunt trauma or other causes.
The body of the 21-year-old was found Tuesday in a water storage tank atop the Cecil Hotel in downtown L.A.
Lam was last seen alive on Jan. 31 by hotel staff.
During the following three weeks authorities searched for the student without success and released a video of Lam acting strangely in a Cecil Hotel elevator in a plea for information.
On Tuesday morning, after receiving a complaint of low water pressure, a maintenance worker discovered Lam’s body in the rooftop tank.
An L.A. Fire Department spokesman told 24 hours Wednesday the door to the hotel’s roof didn’t have a lock, but was fitted with an alarm that would sound if it were opened. It also needed a special key to be switched off.
Whoever had access to the key is a pivotal part of the investigation, according to police.
Meanwhile, the L.A. County Department of Health said testing of the hotel’s tap water found no bacteria or pathogens.
“The reason for that is that the water supply is from the city of L.A. and it’s chlorinated,” said department spokesperson Angelo Bellomo.
“Chlorine in that water has a tendency to kill bacteria.”
Bellomo added the building’s plumbing and tanks will be flushed and cleaned with disinfectant. The water will then be tested again before an order not to drink the hotel’s tap water is lifted.