First, I'd like to tell you that I've done my research. Numerous pages of notes my own, on social media, timelines and news articles come into play. All of the information that I'm supplying to you is supported by fact and you'll see evident as such marked with an (*). However, my opinion and speculation on what happened to Elisa Lam IS NOT documented. It is a theory on what undoubtedly happened around or past 8pm on January 31st, 2013. The date and time that Elisa Lam presumably disappeared, never to be seen again. WARNING: This Post May Get GRAPHIC
*Her friends call her "Lisa." A kind and caring young lady with a slight build and infectious smile. She's also only three months shy of her 22nd birthday. Her missing poster tells you she's only 5'4'', weighing 115 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. Lisa is second generation Chinese and native to Vancouver, Canada. The poster also tells you that she suffers from "mild depression".
I'd like to address the "mild depression" part of this "story". *According to the Autopsy Report (readily available in .pdf format) She was on a cocktail of antidepressants, an anti-psychotic and an SSNRI. Not many people NEED more than one or two antidepressants for "MILD depression". Maybe the person Elisa WAS when she filled her medications on January 11th, was "stable". Maybe things were going good for her at that time. Or maybe no one knew at ALL what Elisa was going through. But I can tell you where it took a turn for the worst.
Being a University Student and planning her future wasn't easy. Topping that with the everyday stresses of life and battling depression, she must have felt it was "time for a vacation". She'd studied hard and often blogged about her progress,medications, classes and so forth. Insomnia being one of the biggest player in her battle against depression. So, she filled her medication on *January 11th, 2013. Either preparing for the vacation, or "vacationing on a whim" she'd had enough medication on her person to last her about two weeks.
According to social media, and from what I gathered, *she'd been sight-seeing in San-Diego, CA at the Zoo. Then, checked into the Cecil Hotel in L.A. on January 26th. I hadn't gathered when she left Canada exactly or arrived in Cali. (One Website is counterdicting the other.) So I wont put an asterisk on that one..Nevertheless, everyone's interested in the happenings thereafter.
Here's my take on it. I've read that the area is only two blocks from the famous "skid row". It's a crime ridden, panhandling, destitute area filled with drug addicts and prostitutes. Which in context; I'm putting that mildly. It makes Downtown Detroit look like Mayberry.
Some people speculate that it's where she was supposed to meet someone for a job in L.A. Well, I can tell you "no." I liken this to an "Urban Wrong Turn." Being the daughter of business owners, I'm sure this hotel was far less than she expected. She was passing through and due to check out on the 31st. The rate was the only thing keeping this girl here. Whether the travel WAS for an interview in the next city, anyone can speculate. I have a feeling that "I'm going to a job interview." passed over with her family/friends better than; "I'm going to California, you know..just sightseeing before I commit to more classes." She seemed to be the type that was eager to please everyone but always felt disappointed in herself.
*The last anyone physically saw of Lisa, was at a local Bookstore called "The Last Bookstore" on January 31st ( However, there was an elevator surveillance video of Lisa depicting her acting strangely. And oddly enough she had no "gifts" or "books" in her hand at the time the video was captured. Due to the timestamp on the video being digitally altered, no one knows (except Law Enforcement and the Hotel) the true time she was in the elevator before her death. Although, it would have been captured on a routine trip outside,before/after she'd went to the bookstore. If you watch the video closely, in between the black marks over the timestamp, you can clearly see a "7". She was also wearing her jacket and the exact clothes she was found in.
Due to Elisa having insomnia, it may have been approx. 7am (before bed) or approx. 7pm (waking up). I assume that because her attire clearly states "I'm not leaving the hotel," and her unkempt hair that it was well after 7pm. People are speculating that there was someone following her, that she was trying to hide from someone, she was "on drugs". According to the Autopsy Report/Toxicology; that was NOT the case. And we'll discuss this in detail soon.
Elevator Footage Analysis and Account
Elisa enters the elevator, bends over, and presses four buttons on the panel in the middle. (12-14 second mark)
*A reference photo shows that those buttons are: "10", "7", "4" and "M".
Why so many buttons? Because she can't read them. *She was known to wear
glasses and had accidentally left them at home. Thus, had to bend over
to see the numbers. The elevator is dark enough that it couldn't even
pick up the chrome numbers on the tape. What's interesting is that every
hall that the elevator stops at, has a different color.
My assumation: She was probably going by the color of the hallway to tell her which floor she was on.
At this point, I'm not saying that she wasn't being pursued. Because she does appear to hide in the corner and talk for a second, takes a quick peek out, looks left slowly and cautiously steps out of the elevator. (52 second mark). And takes a childish "hop" forward. As if she thinks someones playing with her. She takes deliberate steps, seemingly in a dance-like routine. Trying to keep her gait even and stepping inside the diamond tiles. She shuffles almost out of view.( At 1:09 ) you can see her standing still with her right fist clenched, if only wanting or waiting for something to happen. at 1:15 she raises her arms up above her head, puts them together once and then grasps each side of her head, elbows out. She still has her hands in her hair while re-entering the elevator. 1: 39 Once again, she goes to the button panel, pressing the buttons down the middle. She walks out, turns to the right and makes huge gestures with her hands, as if agitated and/or talking to someone. Then proceeds to use her hands in a water-like motion turning it into directing a symphony. (Is there Elevator Music?) 2:20 Still standing outside the elevator's open door; she seems to be counting on her fingers in an exaggerated motion and drops her hands to her sides. 2:29 She clasps her hands over her head once again into her hair and walks a semicircle to the left. Completely out of camera view. The elevator door finally closes at 3:02 And opens to a navy blue hallway on 3:22. It takes several seconds for the elevator door to finally re-open at 3:46 to an orange hallway. End of Clip.
Now that you kind of have a mental visual of the footage, (if you haven't seen it or looked it up) you have to know what physically happened here to lead Elisa into this agitated state.
*According to the toxicology report and findings of the investigators, they can safely say that Elisa was having serious depression issues. *The medications they found support this fact. I doubt that she would carry all this medication on her person so it's safe to assume that they were in her hotel room. List of medications, dosages and directions are also in this report.
*60ct Lamictal-generic - Lamotrigine 100mg-4x daily=400mg
Commonly use/category: Mood Stabilizer- mood disorders such as PTSD/Bi-Polar, prevents mood changes
*30ct Seroquel XR-generic-Quetiapine 25mg-2 tabs at bedtime as needed
Common use/category: Anti-psychotic-suicide prevention, manic depression, insomnia
*60ct-Effexor generic Venlafaxine XR -150mg-1 tab 4xdaily
*60ct Venlafaxine-75mg-1tab 4xdaily (as needed)
Common use/category: SSNRI (selective seratonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor)-selectively balances chemicals in the brain to prevent depression. Used for Panic disorders, depression and Major depressive disorders.
*60 ct Wellbutrin XL- aka Buproprion-300mg-1 tab daily before noon (preferrably am)
Common use/category: Anti-depressant. Anxiety/Depression/Major Depressive Disorders.
Okay, so it's WELL established that there is MAJOR depression going on here. This kind of cocktail of meds should have made her the happiest most normal person in the world, OR a complete zombie depending on your tolerance..
Yet, why is this still on the table? Because she wasn't taking them. She filled her prescriptions on the 11th and nearly NONE were missing out of the bottle. In the reports it shows the perscriber information, the dates on the bottle, the count of how many were with her, and she only took 4 pills out of the Wellbutrin bottle. She would have ran out of most of her meds by the 26th.
She wasn't ON drugs people, she was suffering from symptoms of withdrawl. You'll see that the wathdrawl symptoms explain the bizarre behavior on the elevator surveillance camera. That and she was severely overdosed on her medications. Her body was so used to these meds and the (over-use of them) that she suffered a psychosis.
#1. I went to the drug interactions checker recommended by my favorite search engine and tapped in the names of ALL the meds she was on. (Mind you, the autopsy report said nothing about recommendations to discontinue or substitute any of the medications.) Low and behold it told me, * "THIS SPECIFIC combination of drugs should NEVER be used." Can you imagine coming down from a heavy, almost toxic dose like this? All I can say is "Wow. She did this for almost two weeks?!"
#2. I looked up all the side effects of coming off of them "cold turkey". Keep in mind it's not just a "benefits outweights the risk" situation. This WILL happen to anyone who stops these medications suddenly. I don't think you'll be surprised by my findings:
Lamictal:Anger, Anxiety, Balance issues, Bi-polar symptoms, Manic Phases, Concentration Problems, depression, diziness,fatigue, headaches, Irritability, Vomiting.
Seroquel: nausea, vomiting, insomnia, schitzophrenia
Wellbutrin: manic depression, sudden mood changes
Effexor: brain zaps in head, intense anxiety and impaired motor skills.
* Supporting this is the fact that only the Wellbutrin, Lamictal and Seroquel were found in trace amounts (micrograms or not sufficient amounts) of her blood also means that she stopped her medications. Considering that they have to "build up in your system" for them to work properly.
More Questions Answered about clothing and Lack Thereof
*That can also be explained. On the day of January 31st, 2013 it was about 46F in Canada. That's why she preferred to walk around in shorts most of the day in California, she was getting used to the warmer temperatures and put on a Jacket when it got colder out. The weather didn't turn "chilly" in L.A. until about 7:47 PM when it hit 59F with a humidity of 64%. You would have felt chilly because of the moisture in the air at that time.
*The temperature in the water tank would be about the same temperature as the outside air if not cooler from the absence of light, and also pumps that bring cold water in. If it was 59 when she went in the water and at the lowest point of 54 degrees it was after 11pm. Since I don't know the conditions inside the water tank, exact temperture, how full etc. I can only assume that she went in with her clothes on. And was at some point unable to keep her body temperature stable. (I believe it's also a side effect of some of the medications, too. It leaves the body unable to regulate temperature.) *In mild hypothermia people often get confused that their body is too hot when in actuality it's too cold, so they take off their clothes. It's called "paradoxical undressing."
*The theory that she was murdered can also be disassembled by the
coroners report. I'll spare you most the gory details and get straight
to the facts. *It stated that the "skin around the wrists, head and neck
remained unremarkable" and "there was no instrument of fatality." "The lungs
were consistent with drowning (fluid being collected from both lungs)."
If you note the physical description and rate of decomposition, it's also
supporting a drowning. (Out of respect I won't comment further,but if you look it up yourself, position of accidental drowning victims and the marks on her body; you'll see it's consistent.)
My theory is that this
was, in fact, an accidental drowning. Supporting the Coroner's Report of Autopsy. Whether it be a delusion from a schizophrenic episode, or an "escape from reality"; I believe that Eliza Lam went into the tank under her own power. I believe that she had a severe disconnection to reality after suffering for two almost three weeks without medications. I also believe that certain outside factors could have prevented this from happening.
What Elisa Lam's Death Taught Me
Pay attention to the ones you love, sometimes "fine" means "not okay." Also, if you have thoughts of coming off your meds to escape. Seek help with weaning off your medications. Do not stop any medications without your doctor's consent. Double check your interactions and ask your pharmacist for advice. If you feel that you're over medicated or your doctor isn't listening, get a second opinion about your care. Even if it means switching to another doctor or a specialist.
I wish peace upon the Lam family. And may Elisa Rest In Peace I hope this brings some closure to the family, friends and followers of this case.