Missing Canadian Woman Seen Acting Strangely in Dumpy L.A. Hotel

Hotel Cecil exterior
For some reason, an article of mine from 2008, A Dump with a Future, was getting a lot of hits over the weekend. (Go ahead, give it a read — it’s pretty entertaining.) It was an article about my stay at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, located at the corner of Main and Seventh, a short walk from Pershing Square and a stone’s throw from the fashion district. The neighbourhood’s fairly rough; it kind of looks like many parts of “Los Santos”, the ersatz Los Angeles in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In that article, I wrote that while the Cecil had the potential to become a revived fleabag in the way that Toronto’s Gladstone and Drake Hotels did, it had a long way to go.

It turned out that the readers were coming from a Chinese news site reporting on Elisa Lam, a young Canadian woman of Chinese descent who’s been missing since the end of January. She was in Los Angeles and staying at the Cecil. The police have released this video of her taken by the elevator surveillance camera. In it, she’s acting rather oddly:

The blog LAist reports:

Elisa LamThe search for missing Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, last seen January 31 in Los Angeles, continues, and now the Los Angeles Police Department has released surveillance video of the missing 21-year-old taken inside the hotel where she was staying.

The video shows Vancouver resident Lam entering the elevator at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown, pressing several floor buttons, and then pressing herself against the wall as though she were hiding from someone. The elevator doesn’t go anywhere, though, and Lam can be seen edging out the doors, ultimately gesturing in the hallway, possibly in conversation with someone. Lam goes back into the elevator and again presses multiple buttons, but when the elevator doesn’t move, she exits.

Lam was last seen in the lobby of the Cecil. She had been in California a few days, and the college student’s final destination was reportedly to be Santa Cruz.

Her parents say she last contacted them on the 31st, but that it was extremely unusual for her to not be in touch with them.

Lam is described as an Asian woman of Chinese descent. She has black hair, brown eyes and stands 5 feet 4 inches tall. She weighs about 115 pounds. She is fluent in English and also speaks Cantonese. According to the “Find Elisa Lam” Facebook page, Lam was last seen wearing a purple/blue t-shirt and black basketball shorts, and she was not wearing her glasses. The LAPD have noted Lam may suffer from mild depression.

Anyone with information about Lam’s whereabouts is asked to contact the LAPD.

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