Body found in Los Angeles hotel water tank identified as Canadian tourist

Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:26pm EST
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By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A body found in a water tank on the roof of a historic Los Angeles hotel has been identified as that of a 21-year-old Canadian woman who went missing in late January, police said on Wednesday.

The body, which was discovered on Tuesday morning in one of four water tanks on top of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, has been positively identified as that of Elisa Lam by members of her family, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Lt. Andy Nieman said.

"The coroner has confirmed that it is Elisa Lam based on some distinctive markings on her body," Neiman said. "They had confirmation from the family based on those markings."

A coroner's spokesman declined to release further information on the condition of the remains pending an autopsy that he said would likely take place on Thursday.

Lam, a 21-year-old college student from Vancouver, British Columbia, was last seen by staff at the hotel on January 31, and police detectives had characterized her disappearance as suspicious.

Police have said that the reason for Lam's visit to Southern California was unclear but that her final destination was expected to be Santa Cruz in Central California.

Security video taken in an elevator of the hotel and released by the LAPD last week showed her acting strangely, hiding in a corner, pushing multiple buttons and repeatedly peering around the elevator doors into a hallway.

The body was discovered in one of the four large, cylindrical tanks by a maintenance worker investigating guest complaints of low water pressure at the art deco hotel, which was built in 1927 and is considered a local landmark.   Continued...

Authorities stand on the rooftop of the Cecil Hotel after a body was found in a water tank in Los Angeles, California, February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn