The Cecil Hotel is no five-star joint. The downtown Los Angeles hotel is known locally for being more of a hostel. It’s located so close to L.A.’s infamous Skid Row that staying at the hotel is usually reserved for guests who simply don’t know any better.
For the last several days, however, guests at the Cecil Hotel experienced a new low in hospitality. To put it nicely, they noticed a few issues with the water supply.
According to British tourist Sabina Baugh, “It tasted horrible. It had a very funny, sweetening, disgusting taste. It’s a very strange taste, I can barely describe it. We never thought anything of it. We thought it was just the way it was here.”
After hearing many similar complaints from hotel guests, as well as complaints that there was no water pressure, hotel management sent maintenance to the roof to inspect the building’s water supply. Within the tank, the maintenance crew found the decomposing body of 21-year-old Canadian woman, Elisa Lam. Lam disappeared on January 31, after traveling to Los Angeles on her own.
The Cecil has a sinister past and this isn’t the first time its name has been linked with murder.
The hotel’s 14th floor served as home to “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez during the 1980s. In the early 1990s, Austrian tourist Jack Unterweger stayed at The Cecil, where he killed three L.A. prostitutes. After his arrest, he was found guilty of killing eight others in Vienna and Prague.
There were several other murders in the hotel during the 1920s and 1930s, and in the 1960s a woman even leaped to her death from her room’s window.
Since finding Lam’s body, authorities have looked into security camera footage at The Cecil for more information. Based on Lam’s behavior in the videos, they have not ruled out foul play.