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The Los Angeles County coroner's office ruled on Thursday that the death of 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam was an accident. According to Lieutenant Fred Corral of the coroner's investigation branch, Lam's bipolar personality disorder contributed to her death.
Elisa Lam, a student of the University of British Columbia from Vancouver, Canada, went missing from The Cecil Hotel situated in the heart of Los Angeles, on 31 January. Her decomposing body was found in the rooftop water tank of the same hotel, 19 days later.
Following her disappearance, the Los Angeles Police Department had released a video of Lam in the hotel's elevator, where she could be seen all by herself behaving in a strange and unusual manner. It was due to the release of the video that the young woman's death grabbed international attention.
An autopsy performed immediately after Lam's body was found turned out to be inconclusive and, according to a report in laist.com, Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter had said at that time that Lam's death still remains suspicious due to her health and age.
According to a report in The Globe and Mail, after the new ruling regarding Lam's death, when Corral was asked how he thought Lam got inside the hotel's water tank, he said: "I guess she climbed up there."
However, Corral's answer did not explain how she could have drowned in the tank.
Corral further added that the toxicology reports suggest that Lam was not under the influence of any drugs.
"I agree it's strange one, certainly stranger than many other cases we've had here," Corral said.
The toxicology reports were expected to be released within two to four weeks after the tests. However, it has been four months since Lam's death and the reports were not revealed until now. When asked, the officer explained that the investigators had to make efforts to find out Lam's medical history, which revealed that she was bipolar. He said Lam's psychological health details were included in the finding because of her strange behavior in the elevator.
"This was a tragedy. She was a very young lady. It's unfortunate," Corral added.
Lam's body was discovered by a maintenance worker at The Cecil Hotel, when he went to the water tank to attend to the complaints of low water pressure.
Despite the incident being ruled an accident, a number of questions continue to linger, a few of them being: How did Lam reach the terrace when the hotel authorities claim the access to the roof was restricted and doors had an alarm system; what was the reason for her strange behaviour in the elevator when her close friends think she was a perfectly normal, loving and caring person; why didn't the elevator door close when she was inside?
People around the world were awaiting the toxicology reports and do not seem satisfied with the conclusion drawn by the coroner's office.
"This cannot be an accident, it is insulting to even suggest this. How in the world did she get on the roof if the door was alarmed and locked? Staff would have access to the roof. I can't believe that sans explanation they can rule it accidental," Debbie commented on a news report about Lam.
"Are they kidding, ACCIDENTAL! No signs of drug use, what about the prescription drugs she was on for her reported disorder, could they have prompted suicide?" asked Gordon.
The Cecil Hotel is known to have a dark past with a history of suicides, murders and unsolved deaths.
Check out the elevator video here:
[Video Courtesy: YouTube/frank preciado]