Elisa Lam - What Happened?

Why did Elisa die?

  • Homicide/crime of opportunity - Murder due to chance encounter with someone on the day she died

    Votes: 162 47.4%
  • Homicide/preplanned - Elisa was lured to her death in a scheme planned before the day she died

    Votes: 46 13.5%
  • Accidental death - related to an altered mental state: drug induced, psychosis, sleep walking, etc.

    Votes: 86 25.1%
  • Suicide - Elisa intended to end her life due to mental issues/other

    Votes: 7 2.0%
  • Occult/supernatural/conspiracy - related to occult, supernatural phenomena or gov./other conspiracy

    Votes: 5 1.5%
  • Unsure/Do not know

    Votes: 36 10.5%

  • Total voters
    342
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2Hip2BSquare

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It is possible that she hit all those floors down the middle because the bathroom on 14 turned out to be in use & she figured she would stop on each of these floors and peek out towards the bathroom to see if it was available. Being nearsighted myself, the shapes at a distance are out of focus, but you can still make out general light/dark and things such as whether a door is open or closed. Without her glasses, she still may have been able to generally make out from the elevator to see if the bathroom 20 feet away was open. I have another theory on the elevator i'll throw out here. She initially pushed the buttons for the reason I gave above, then she did so again for the very same reason - EXCEPT she was out of the elevator this time. She was out of the elevator off to the side because she was paranoid that someone was watching her in the elevator on the camera and preventing the elevator from closing. She seemed genuinely disturbed when the elevator did not initially close, and then subsequently "tested" the elevator because she didn't understand why it stayed open, thinking that someone was playing games with her. This theory is of course based on the premise that she did not know she hit the elevator-open button at the buttom, but rather pressed that accidentally or in error (thought it was close).

Yes I thought this exact same reason/scenario to explain why she pressed all of the buttons (and accidentally pressed hold)

When she is outside of the elevator it is as if she is trying to explain to someone on the 14th floor that she's just going around looking for a bathroom. I agree when she peers around to the area of the bathroom it seems like shes scared.

But really she just looks jittery like she has to use the restroom and doesn't know if she should just try to wait for the elevator to leave the floor and hope the bathroom becomes unoccupied or if she should just use the stairs to get down to the next floor to find a bathroom.

She could look anxious/panicked/paranoid simply bc she had to go to the bathroom.

Did body language experts take THIS into account for her seeming jittery?

For doing a "pee pee" dance? For standing with her knees together like she's trying to hold her bladder? For grabbing at herself in anxiety of just how bad she had to go?

No body language experts Probably did not. They don't want to associate their talent with dictating mannerisms that indicate digestive/excretive impulses.

She probably ditched the stalled elevator for the stairs again to make it to the bathroom on the next floor down bc she had to GO BAD!

Once she got down to another floor perhaps a "kind patron" offered she could use their private bathroom? It also seems like many of the rooms that have private bathrooms also have fire escape access from the window from all the pictures I have seen.

LE should check the names/ID of all patrons who stayed in rooms with private baths and fire escape access during Jan. 31-Feb.2... IMO
 

2Hip2BSquare

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Yes I thought this exact same reason/scenario to explain why she pressed all of the buttons (and accidentally pressed hold)

When she is outside of the elevator it is as if she is trying to explain to someone on the 14th floor that she's just going around looking for a bathroom. I agree when she peers around to the area of the bathroom it seems like shes scared.

But really she just looks jittery like she has to use the restroom and doesn't know if she should just try to wait for the elevator to leave the floor and hope the bathroom becomes unoccupied or if she should just use the stairs to get down to the next floor to find a bathroom.

She could look anxious/panicked/paranoid simply bc she had to go to the bathroom.

Did body language experts take THIS into account for her seeming jittery?

For doing a "pee pee" dance? For standing with her knees together like she's trying to hold her bladder? For grabbing at herself in anxiety of just how bad she had to go?

No body language experts Probably did not. They don't want to associate their talent with dictating mannerisms that indicate digestive/excretive impulses.

She probably ditched the stalled elevator for the stairs again to make it to the bathroom on the next floor down bc she had to GO BAD!

Once she got down to another floor perhaps a "kind patron" offered she could use their private bathroom? It also seems like many of the rooms that have private bathrooms also have fire escape access from the window from all the pictures I have seen.

LE should check the names/ID of all patrons who stayed in rooms with private baths and fire escape access during Jan. 31-Feb.2... IMO

And I think the suspect frequents hotels under a different name and only pays in cash as to avoid detection/identification.

I think he frequents hotels and meets escorts. Maybe he has killed escorts before or after Elisa. Any woman essentially he can get into his hotel room with him.

I believe he picked a room with ladder access (and a private toilet) on purpose.

Elisa, for him, wasn't like his other victims. This was a crime of opportunity. She was needing a bathroom, and he saw her in need and offered her one to use when all communal bathrooms she attempted to utilize were occupied.

He took the opportunity once she was in his room to close the door to the hallway and attack her before or after she used the restroom.

This might explain the loud noise that a patron heard the night Elisa disappeared. Perhaps she was struggling for her life in his bathroom and it was just above the other patrons room.

How long she was alive for could be determined possibly by whether or not only cadaver dogs were utilized to search for her.

If they only had cadaver dogs, she could have still been alive in this creeps room/bathroom for a few days before dying and that's why the dogs didn't get a hit on a dead body at the hotel initially.

He could have left her in his room/bathroom until he was ready to put her in the cistern - whether by fire escape (as was done by the journalist who serial killed prostitutes in the very same hotel) or by the roof access door.

Im beyond frustration with this case still. It won't leave me.
 

Nickfalzone

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RE: the loud noise that Bernard Diaz heard in the middle of that night - if it is related, I do not believe that the noise from 13 or 14 went all the way down to 3. Based on the quotes available, it seems like it occurred right above his room. He was on 3, she was on 4. What you bring up about the private bathroom is interesting, but my theory is that the perp took advantage of her in her own room. She may have been explaining to him outside the elevator why she was on 14, that her bathroom was not working, and then he offered to go down to her room and "fix it" for her. Obviously, once he got into the room, he committed murder.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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RE: the loud noise that Bernard Diaz heard in the middle of that night - if it is related, I do not believe that the noise from 13 or 14 went all the way down to 3. Based on the quotes available, it seems like it occurred right above his room. He was on 3, she was on 4. What you bring up about the private bathroom is interesting, but my theory is that the perp took advantage of her in her own room. She may have been explaining to him outside the elevator why she was on 14, that her bathroom was not working, and then he offered to go down to her room and "fix it" for her. Obviously, once he got into the room, he committed murder.

I didn't say she was on 14th floor when abducted. I think she went back down and used a bathroom closer to her floor after realizing the 14th floor was occupied.

The autopsy report was sent and I'm receiving it tonight. Will let you know if anything seems off promise.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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One more thing:

"4. When a body is recovered from water, two critical questions require resolution: Was the victim alive or dead when he entered the water? Is the cause of death drowning? (and if not, what is the cause of death?).
5. To resolve the above questions, the following information must be correlated:
1. the circumstances preceding the death,
2. the circumstances of recovery of the body, and
3. the autopsy findings. The approach should be to consider the circumstances revealed by
the investigation and to then determine if the autopsy findings are consistent with those circumstances."
 

findinganatta

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Here's info on signs of drowning victims when performing autopsies. Will be a good source for me (and others) to see if her autopsy really seems consistent with accidental drowning.

http://www.dundee.ac.uk/forensicmedicine/notes/water.pdf

Will study up now before I give any opinions.

Thanks guys!
Good link. It does say "petechial haemorrhages found in other asphyxial deaths are not seen in drowning." So that answers that particular question, but there are certainly others.

My understanding is that water within the lungs is a big indicator. But I'm not sure what the autopsy says about that.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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10. There are no autopsy findings pathonomonic of drowning. Consequently, obtaining proof that the victim was alive on entering the water, and excluding the presence of natural, traumatic and toxicological causes of death, are critically important. Some pathological changes are characteristic of drowning, but the diagnosis is largely one of exclusion.


11. A fine, white, froth or foam in the airways and exuding from the mouth and nostrils is characteristic of drowning. It is a vital phenomenon and indicates that the victim was alive at the time of submersion. However, similar foam is found in deaths from other causes, e.g. heart failure, drug overdose, and head injury.

-no white froth indicated. Just scant amounts of mucous and obstructed nasal passages.


12. The lungs are characteristically over-inflated and heavy with fluid. However, this is not invariable and, when present, is not distinguishable from "fluid on the lungs" (pulmonary oedema seen in heart failure, drug overdose and head injury).

-left lung weighed 250 g and right lung weight 350 g. Parenchyma Showed postmortem signs of gaseous distention and edema. To me her lungs don't seem like they underwent enough trauma and there wasn't enough water/bloating for it to seem like she drown. IMHO

13. It is disputed whether sand, silt, weed, and other foreign matter, found in the airways constitutes proof of immersion during life. The presence of large quantities of water and debris in the stomach strongly suggests immersion during life. Conversely, the absence of water in the stomach suggests either rapid death by drowning, or death prior to submersion.

-there is only a small scant amount of red liquid in her stomach.


14. Haemorrhages in the boney middle ears are occasionally (some would say commonly) seen in drowning cases. Such haemorrhages also occur in deaths from other causes, e.g. head trauma, electrocution and mechanical asphyxiation.

-Her ears were not dissected. Nor her eyes.

Some things I find strange.
 

findinganatta

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It seems consistent enough with drowning that any further determination is outside of our knowledge level and is pure speculation, unless a forensic medical professional wants to jump into the conversation.
 

Conductor71

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It seems consistent enough with drowning that any further determination is outside of our knowledge level and is pure speculation, unless a forensic medical professional wants to jump into the conversation.

I think that we need to acknowledge that drowning deaths are extremely difficult to determine with any absolute certainty among those trained as medical examiners, so I don't think we can draw any conclusions from the autopsy. I will note that if she was suffocated somehow first and then put in the tank, it is virtually impossible to discern this once the body is submerged.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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Good link. It does say "petechial haemorrhages found in other asphyxial deaths are not seen in drowning." So that answers that particular question, but there are certainly others.

My understanding is that water within the lungs is a big indicator. But I'm not sure what the autopsy says about that.

The autopsy said she had scant amounts of mucous/liquid in her respiratory system and many aspects of her lungs seemed like they didn't under go trauma. Things seemed fairly healthy.

Also her heart seemed fairly healthy which usually when one drowns they essentially have trauma to the heart.

It's just... Some of her telltale organs like the lungs, stomach, and heart seem like they didn't suffer the usual trauma associated with drowning.

Most of the report read "unremarkable".
 

2Hip2BSquare

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I have no idea why they wouldn't dissect her ears. That's an obvious way to tell if someone drown or not. With how iffy all the other evidence was and the limited blood samples, you'd think they'd definitely utilize her ears for an idea.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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It seems consistent enough with drowning that any further determination is outside of our knowledge level and is pure speculation, unless a forensic medical professional wants to jump into the conversation.

It's not consistent with drowning at all!

Check her lungs! Her heart!

Ugh we aren't all forensic scientists, but some things are obvious signs of drowning. I'm pissed he didn't dissect the ears to check for any ruptures/tearing.

Ok I'm going now. I'm officially PO'd at this coroner.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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Petechial hemorrhaging actually happens in some drowning cases. It is dependent upon the method of drowning. Its not true that it never happens.
 

findinganatta

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I think that we need to acknowledge that drowning deaths are extremely difficult to determine with any absolute certainty among those trained as medical examiners, so I don't think we can draw any conclusions from the autopsy. I will note that if she was suffocated somehow first and then put in the tank, it is virtually impossible to discern this once the body is submerged.
Yeah, it could go either way. It's pretty apparent that she didn't die from many standard forms of murder, but suffocation is one that is possible for sure. And if the experts have a hard time determining it, then we certainly have no hope of coming to any meaningful conclusions.

To me, the most important aspect of the autopsy was determining the clothes issue. One of the major things bugging me about whether it was foul play or not was how her clothing could just go missing. Now that has been answered. Amazing that that information hasn't shown up in any media outlet. Wouldn't be surprised if it does now, at least in China or Canada.
 

findinganatta

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It's not consistent with drowning at all!

Check her lungs! Her heart!

Ugh we aren't all forensic scientists, but some things are obvious signs of drowning. I'm pissed he didn't dissect the ears to check for any ruptures/tearing.
While they certainly could have done more to investigate the drowning part, what they found is not super inconsistent with what we're seeing on medical websites. When it comes to the intensely scientific stuff, I'm always hesitant to make any assumptions since it is very, very complex stuff with many variables. The lack of follow up on their part is annoying, but again I'm hesitant to judge too harshly given that we only have very limited info about their circumstances and resources. That's all I can really say about it at this time.

Petechial hemorrhaging actually happens in some drowning cases. It is dependent upon the method of drowning. Its not true that it never happens.
That page you posted follows up the quote I posted by saying that in rare cases it does happen. But that doesn't really add anything either way in this case.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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This is ********. She was murdered. There is nothing in her lungs or system that indicates she drown. Not one damn thing. No excessive water in lungs. No tearing or trauma in the larynx/throat. Nothing in her stomach but a small amount of red liquid. NO froth in airways. Ears not even examined to see if any rupturing occurred. Airways didn't seem obstructed and the lungs were in pretty decent shape (didnt seem filled/bloated) Doesn't sound like a drowning victim to me.

But I guess that's just me.

Peace all. Much love.
 

2Hip2BSquare

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And yes it drives me crazy too that it was not specified where her clothes were found, only that they had remnants of sand.

It was everything she wore in the elevator it seems.
 
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