Who killed Elisa Lam? All the Cecil Hotel theories explained

11 February 2021, 11:34 | Updated: 11 February 2021, 11:36

By Sam Prance

Netflix viewers are shocked by the true story of Elisa Lam in Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel has just come out on Netflix and people are now wondering who killed Elisa Lam?

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel is a new true crime documentary about the LA hotel and all the mysterious events that happened there. In particular, it focuses on the shocking real life story of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist, who went missing while staying at the Cecil, only to be found dead in a water tank two weeks after she was last seen in person.

READ MORE: Cecil Hotel is currently closed but here's when it reopens

The Netflix documentary explores what really happened to her and whether the theories about her death are true or not.

What happened to Elisa Lam?

Who killed Elisa Lam? All the Cecil Hotel theories explained
Who killed Elisa Lam? All the Cecil Hotel theories explained. Picture: Netflix

The Cecil Hotel already had a reputation for death and murder long before Elisa stayed there. Serial killers, including Richard Ramirez, were known for booking rooms at the hotel. Cut to 2013 and the Cecil had converted half of its rooms into a brand new hostel, called the Stay on Main, to make it more appealing to travellers. Elisa booked a room at the Stay on Main.

However, despite having different lobbies and entrances, the Cecil and the Stay on Main shared the same elevators and the last known footage of Elisa shows her appearing both terrified and erratic in one of the elevators. Elisa was initially reported missing after she didn't check out on February 1 and police made the footage public after they couldn't find her.

On February 19, an employee of the hotel found Elisa's naked body in one of the water tanks on top of the building, shortly after guests had begun complaining about water pressure in the hotel's bathrooms. A case was launched to find out what happened to her but it was closed in June 2013 and Elisa's death was reported as accidental drowning.

Elisa had bipolar disorder and a coroner discovered that she hadn't been taking her recommended medication at the time. However, many people, who followed the case, believed that the elevator footage suggested that something more sinister had happened. Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel explores their theories at length.

What are the Elisa Lam theories?

There are many Elisa Lam theories. Some people think that there was another person in the elevator with Elisa, hiding out of the camera's reach. They think that this person could have been Elisa's murderer. However, the Netflix series demonstrates that there is no real evidence, other than her behaviour, to back this up.

Others think that metal singer Morbid murdered her. Shortly before Elisa disappeared, he posted a video in which he can be seen at the Cecil. It also included a teaser for his 'Died in Pain' video in which a girl is chased and killed. However, Morbid was in Mexico at the time of Elisa's death.

Elsewhere, people believe that it was an unknown murderer or paranormal forces were involved. Some even think that the ghost of Richard Ramirez could have killed her. However, no one has been able to prove this.

What happened to Elisa Lam? The true story behind her Cecil Hotel disappearance
What happened to Elisa Lam? The true story behind her Cecil Hotel disappearance. Picture: Netflix

How did Elisa Lam actually die?

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel concludes that Elisa's death must have been a tragic accident. The detective who worked on the case believes that she tried to swim in the water tank but got stuck, couldn't get out and ultimately drowned.

That being said, the only people who had access to the hotel roof were the hotel staff. Also, the lids of each water tank were so heavy that they would be difficult for Elisa to open alone. Taking this into consideration, many people aren't convinced that she died by accident. Sadly it seems likely that we will never know the exact truth behind what happened to her.

What do you think happened to Elisa Lam?