L.A. hotel guests drank and bathed in corpse-contaminated water for weeks

By David Ferguson
Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:46 EDT
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Elisa Lam via screencap
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Guests at a Los Angeles hotel unknowingly drank, bathed in and brushed their teeth with water from a tank in which a woman’s body floated, decomposing, for nearly three weeks. According to CNN, Elisa Lam went missing during a solo trip from her home city of Vancouver to L.A. in January. A maintenance worker found her body on Wednesday when he went up to the roof of the Hotel Cecil to investigate a drop in water pressure.

“The water did have a funny taste,” Sabrina Baugh told CNN. She and her husband, tourists from the U.K., stayed at the Cecil for eight days. “We never thought anything of it. We thought it was just the way it was here.”

“The shower was awful,” she said. “When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal.”

Lam’s parents reported her missing in early February. No one is sure how she ended up in the hotel’s rooftop cistern, but she was later observed on security video behaving in a frightened manner.

It is unclear whether the water posed any health risks to the guests who were exposed. Detectives are currently investigating the death.

The Hotel Cecil remains open, but has been placed on a “flush only” order by the L.A. County Public Health Department. Guests must sign a waiver on check-in that says they are staying “at their own risk and peril.”

Watch video about this story, embedded via CNN, below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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