So, it’s time to get back to some of those threads I’ve been pulling. Please don’t mind the title. I’m not trying to be flippant; I’m just using hooks which I feel are clever.
I’d like to mention three things before I begin:
First, a correction. In my second Elisa Lam post, I indicated that the coroner’s report showed alcohol in Elisa’s heart blood. This is false–it actually indicated trace amounts of alcohol in her bile. My apologies for the error, and please note that the original article has been fixed. With a case as murky as this, misinformation is certainly not necessary, nor welcomed. One thing I did pick up on the second time around, though, is that the alcohol found was ethanol…or, drinking alcohol.
Second (and somewhat related to the above information), I followed up on the prescriptions Elisa Lam was taking for her illness: Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Seroquel, and Effexor. I asked a friend of mine who has a degree in psychology and is somewhat of an expert on mental health pharmaceuticals what she thought of these meds. She indicated that a doctor would rarely prescribe these together, and that if they did, the condition would have to be rather severe–so severe that she has never encountered a scenario where it would be prudent to prescribe these meds together. Now, Elisa also had in her possession over-the-counter meds such as Sinutab and ibuprofin. I was told that combining these over-the-counters with these prescription meds would be a horrible idea, and might result in erratic behavior or possibly crippling lethargy. When I asked my friend about adding alcohol to this mix…well, she indicated that it would likely result in death…or, best case scenario, becoming quite intoxicated after pretty much one shot. Interesting, yes?
Third, I’m typing this on a tablet right now, so if I say something that doesn’t make sense, let’s blame autocorrect and move on.
As I mentioned (what feels like) aeons ago, there are four possibilities as I see them regarding the fate of Elisa Lam:
- Her death was a suicide
- Her death was a murder (by isolated individuals)
- Her death was part of a gang initiation
- Her death truly was accidental
Now, I know what you’re all probably saying. “Randall,” you’re saying right at this very moment, “you just listed all the possibilities that exist. So…duh.” And that’s a great point, actually. I am taking into account the possibility that all these scenarios can be valid. However, I’m also taking into account that all of these scenarios may not be valid in kind, as well.
If the last two sentences seemed like nonsense, that’s because they were–or, at least, seem that way without proper elaboration. So, let’s take a look at each of these scenarios in isolation.
One caveat: I’m feeling long-winded, so these will each likely be separate posts. Sorry but not sorry.
Scenario: Elisa Lam, a mentally ill individual traveling alone in a strange country, becomes depressed or suffers a psychotic break. She climbs to the roof of the hotel, opens the lid to one of the water tanks, and jumps inside, where she drowns.
Elaboration: Elisa Lam, by her own admission, suffered from bipolar disorder.
She took a number of different prescriptions for her condition, and was indeed prone to suffering from crippling depression. As indicated above, a cocktail of these meds would be reserved for the most extreme (so extreme as to be unrealistic) of cases.
Some folks who view the elevator video feel that her actions in it are indeed indications of an addled state, which may be connected to a psychotic break of some sort.
Though it is likely she came across “friends” she met on the internet whilst traveling through California, she still traveled alone–and anyone who has ever done so will tell you that, while it certainly can be therapeutic, it is at times daunting, especially when visiting a land that is truly not your own.
Prior to her checking into the Cecil Hotel, she lost her phone. Perhaps the stress of that loss, while seemingly inconsequential to a person possessing “normal” mental faculties, may seem like a life-shattering event to a young girl in a depressive state and a foreign land.
Arguing with Myself: This scenario is lacking for a few reasons, IMO. First, the body language experts have indicated that her behavior in the elevator video was not to be viewed as particularly strange, but indeed she seemed to be mostly at ease and even excited/happy. The family has stated she was never suicidal, and the coroner had no reason to believe she was, either.
But let’s presume they are wrong, and let’s examine the possibility of her having a psychotic break. There are, literally, over a billion ways to commit suicide, with all of them easier and more pleasant than drowning oneself in a hotel’s rooftop water tank. For one, the lid to said tank is commonly considered quite heavy. Could a grown woman lift it? Sure, but it would take some effort, and if she swung it open all the way, it couldn’t then be closed easily from the inside.
Getting to the top of the tank would be difficult…did she use a ladder that was propped up against a tank? If not, she would have needed to gain access to the building behind and climb up. At this point, why not just use a bath tub, or take a bus/taxi to the ocean? For that matter, why not do what every other suicide at the hotel has done and just jump?
But let’s presume further that she wanted to be a trend-setter and do something different–that even in her broken mental state, she wanted to be…theatrical.
How did she get to the roof? She didn’t use the main exit, because that would have set off an alarm. She had to have used the window. But access to the roof via the window isn’t easy to figure out on one’s own, and you either have to really be looking for it or someone who knows how to access it (like a tenant) would have to show you. But, let’s presume she figured it out or was shown by a friend a night or two before.
When did she take off her clothes? Was it while in the tank? If that’s the case, why was there still sand (presumed to be from the roofing material) in her clothes?
Okay, so she took off her clothes while out of the tank.
Sure, but she would have either needed to take them in with her (to keep the sand on the clothing) or would have needed to throw them in after she entered the tank, which is impossible.
Okay, so she took them in with her.
But if the lid is that heavy, would she really have been able to one-arm the lid? Maybe if she opened the lid all the way and then took a dip…but then we arrive again at the problem of a lid that’s nearly impossible to close from within the tank. It just doesn’t add up.
Maybe it was suicide, but my gut is telling me that’s an improbable scenario. She might have had mental issues, but killing herself like that would have at least required the help of a second person.
And this is a good place to leave off for the moment.