Over three months since the death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, the truth remains elusive. The 21-year-old was found dead in the rooftop water tank of Los Angeles' Cecil Hotel, after maintenance workers investigated the cause of low water pressure in the building's supply.
The autopsy result proved inconclusive and a toxicology assessment was subsequently called for; that report has yet to be filed, even though the investigation began in February.
As the few mysterious details of Elisa Lam's death began circulating on the Internet, a number of conspiracy theories surfaced, including reports of the Cecil Hotel's long history of suicides, murders and unsolved deaths.
Now, posts on a Chinese social networking site have muddied the waters further, with an unidentified person credited with this comment: "Elisa lam is in hotel water tank, seems no life, hurry up (to find her)."
The post was shared on a Facebook page belonging to Liu Xinnan [translated from刘新楠]. Xinnan claims to be a student of China's Tianjin Polytechnic University.
Is the original post genuine? Did the writer know Elisa Lam was in the hotel water tank, possibly still alive? Could she have been saved? As of now, all of this is mere speculation.
Amateur investigators, such as those on a forum called My Death Space are sceptical... and rightly so. For one thing, if true, it remains to be seen how the unknown poster knew Elisa Lam was in the water tank in the first place. And would not a more direct appeal to hotel security or staff or police been the easier choice?
At this point the more probable explanation is that the post is a hoax, manufactured by altering the date and time of the post.
Meanwhile, a blog operated by Peter Tieryas Liu, a writer of journals and magazines, has a video from an unidentified Chinese tourist, who visited the Cecil Hotel after the Elisa Lam incident and videotaped his inquiries.
The recording shows the lobby, the hallways, the elevator and the water tank, as well as other areas, and tries to answer a few basic questions - such as line of sight from within and outside the elevator. Footage from a security cam video in the elevator showed Elisa Lam behaving strangely on the last day she was seen alive. The young woman almost appeared to be hiding from someone or something.
Check out the video released by the Los Angeles Police
[Video Courtesy: MrFrankPrecidao/YouTube]
Check out the video by the Chinese amateur investigator
[Video Courtesy: YouTube/Junnxynn]