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Dead Body Found Inside Water Tank of Los Angeles Hotel

Elisa Lam was traveling alone and staying at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The coroner's office conducted an autopsy on a 21- year-old Canadian tourist who was missing for weeks before being found in a water tank atop a downtown Los Angeles hotel where she had been staying, but postponed any conclusions for additional testing.

Elisa Lam of Vancouver, British Columbia, had been missing since Jan. 31, when she stopped making daily contact with her parents, according to Los Angeles police.

An autopsy to determine the cause of her death was in progress late this Thursday morning, said coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

Thursday afternoon, Winter said that toxicology as well as tests on her organs and brain have been ordered.

He said that the death is regarded as suspicious, in part because she was a young, apparently healthy woman.

"We want to know such things such as was she drunk, was she killed before she ended up in the tank, and how did she get in the tank,'' Winter said.

He said that the tests on her blood, urine, brain and organs should answer these questions. It usually takes four to six weeks to get results on such tests.

Lam, who arrived in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, had been traveling alone and was staying at the 1920s-era Cecil Hotel at 640 Main St., police said.

Surveillance video from a hotel elevator showed her pressing all of the elevator's buttons and stepping in and out of the car.

She had been in contact with her parents daily until Jan. 31 and had planned to travel to Santa Cruz, police said. Her whereabouts remained a mystery until about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, when a maintenance worker went to the roof after guests complained of low water pressure and found the body in a tank.

Firefighters used cutting tools to gain access to the body and remove it. Public health officials reassured hotel guests that the water in the building was not going to make them sick.

Hotel employees said roof access doors were locked and had alarms, but the four water tanks were not locked, police said. The roof was searched after Lam was reported missing, but it was unclear if the tanks were checked, police said.

Click here to see surveillance video.

From City News Service

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