The death of Elisa Lam is a mystery that has puzzled the world for nearly a decade. Lam, also known by her Cantonese name, Lam Ho Yi, was last seen at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on 31st January 2013. Her disappearance garnered international attention, especially after police released footage of the last time she was captured on camera.
The unsettling video showed Elisa in a state of confusion, entering and re-entering a stationary elevator, and appearing to gesture at someone out of the camera’s view. Following a water pressure complaint by hotel guests five days later, hotel maintenance discovered Elisa’s body in the main water tank on the roof. Lam’s death and the conspiracies surrounding it are the subject of the new Netflix documentary Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.
This piece will look at Elisa Lam’s parents and family.
Elisa Lam’s parents initially objected to her travelling to Los Angeles alone
Elisa Lam was born on 30th April 1991 to David and Yinna Lam. She grew up alongside one sister Sarah, to who she was reportedly close. Sarah and Elisa’s mutual love for fashion dominated most of their interactions.
Lam wrote on Tumblr that she wanted to see the world before getting a job. She informed her parents of her desire to travel to Los Angeles, but they objected to the idea. Eventually, they let the 21-year-old go on the condition that she called them every day.
After failing to get a hold of Lam on 31st January 2013, David and Yinna filed a missing person report. Elisa’s family traveled to Los Angeles to assist in efforts to find their vanished daughter. The visibly distraught and concerned family declined to address the media as the LAPD pleaded with the public for information regarding Elisa’s disappearance.
Following the discovery of Elisa’s lifeless body, the townsfolk in Elisa’s hometown of Burnaby showed their support by placing flowers and condolence messages outside a restaurant owned by David and Yinna. Elisa’s family buried her in a cemetery in Burnaby.
Elisa’s family has kept a low profile since a judge dismissed their wrongful death suit against the Cecil hotel
After a considerable delay, experts concluded that Elisa died due to accidental drowning occasioned in part by bipolar disorder. In September 2013, Elisa’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against the Cecil Hotel, alleging that the hotel should have secured the water tank in which Elisa drowned.
For Elisa to have drowned in the water tank, she would have to access the roof via one of two access points, scale a 10-foot ladder, push aside the 20-pound lid, and then fall or climb into the tank, Judge Howard Halm wrote in his dismissal of the suit.
Judge Halm further provided that the hotel couldn’t have predicted such an accidental drowning. “In fact, the very nature of the water tank made it unreasonable for [Lam] to assume that she was allowed to climb it and open the lid,” he added.
David and Yimma’s stated that the family would consider whether to appeal. So far, Elisa’s family hasn’t appealed the decision. They have kept a low profile since the December 2015 judgment.