In the conclusion to a case that saw worldwide attention and theories, a Los Angeles coroner has ruled that the death of Elisa Lam — the Canadian tourist whose body was found in a hotel water tower earlier this years — was an accidental drowning, according to the Los Angeles Times.
L.A. County coroner’s officials said Thursday that Lam was affected by a serious bipolar disorder, but did not elaborate. They said the 21-year-old had no visible signs of trauma in her system and that toxicology results showed nothing unusual.
Several unusual aspects of the case had attracted worldwide attention. Lam had been missing for three weeks when her body was found at the downtown Cecil Hotel. After guests complained of low water pressure, a maintenance worker inspecting the cistern found her body on February 19th. According to the Associated Press, Lam had traveled alone from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Los Angeles on January 26. She had last been seen five days later by workers at the hotel.
Exactly how Lam got to the roof remains unclear — the only two routes of access was via a door linked to an alarm and a fire escape. While the hotel does not have CCTV cameras on the roof, a video from an elevator that showed Lam was released by police and immediately raised suspicions:
The video — which shows Lam pushing a number of buttons in an elevator, glancing outside and talking before leaving the elevator — led to a lot of speculation. The video was posted to Chinese video website YouKu, where it went viral and eventually gained over 3 million views. After the video was publicized multiple theories involving murder went viral on Sina Weibo. Chinese state media also covered the case (Lam’s family was originally from China).
While murder has been ruled out, police and coroners have not speculated as to how Lam’s body may have ended up in the water tower. It appears we will never know.
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