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Residents disgusted after woman's body found in hotel water tank

February 19, 2013 |  3:32 pm

Emergency personnel gather on the roof of the Cecil Hotel on Main Street, where the body -- believed to be that of Elisa Lam, 21 -- was discvered about 10 a.m. by hotel worker responding to a complaint about low water pressure.

Residents of a downtown L.A. hotel expressed shock after police said the body of a woman was found inside a rooftop water tank.

Police said that a Canadian woman who was last seen at a downtown Los Angeles hotel almost three weeks ago might be the victim.

A worker at the Cecil Hotel on Main Street discovered the body -- believed to be that of Elisa Lam, 21 -- about 10 a.m. while responding to a complaint about low water pressure, sources said.

Annette Suzuki, a San Francisco resident staying at the hotel, was revolted by the discovery of the body.

"I heard there that on the roof there was a dead body in the water tank. I'm really disgusted," she said. "Wouldn't you be if there was a dead body in the water tank you're drinking from."

Police said the body had not officially been identified. That will be done by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Sources familiar with the case said it was too early to tell whether the person was the victim of foul play but said the location was being treated as a crime scene. Her body was found in one of four tanks that make up the water supply for the hotel.

Lam, of Vancouver, Canada, arrived in Los Angeles on Jan. 26 and was last seen Jan. 31 at the Cecil Hotel at 640 S. Main St., police said. Lam's final destination was believed to be Santa Cruz; her reasons for visiting California were unclear.

Bernard Diaz, 89, a 32-year tenant of the Cecil, said he heard a "tremendous" noise the night before Lam was missing in the fourth floor above him.

He also said there was flooding on the fourth floor the day after Lam went missing.

"They said there was some obstruction to the drain between the third and fourth floor," Diaz said.

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-- Adolfo Flores and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Emergency personnel gather on the roof of the Cecil Hotel on Main Street, where the body -- believed to be that of Elisa Lam, 21 -- was discvered about 10 a.m. by hotel worker responding to a complaint about low water pressure. Credit: Adolfo Flores / Los Angeles Times

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