Tests: Water that corpse was found in at L.A. hotel tank won't cause illness

Tests: Water that corpse was found in at L.A. hotel tank won't cause illness

February 21st, 2013 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

A man, left, leaves the Cecil Hotel with belongings as Michael and Sabina Baugh, both 27, of Plymouth, England, wait for transportation as they leave the hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Early Tuesday, police discovered the body of a Canadian woman at the bottom of the historic hotel's water tank, weeks after she was reported missing. The Baughs, on a 14-day tour package, had been there eight days and had showered in and drank the water. The couple's tour operator was less than cooperative in finding them other accommodations.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

LOS ANGELES - Water tested from a downtown Los Angeles hotel tank where a Canadian tourist's body was found this week didn't contain any live bacteria that would cause illness, a county health official said Thursday.

Tuesday's discovery of 21-year-old Elisa Lam's body wedged into a water cistern atop the Cecil Hotel called into question the safety of the hotel's water.

Although county health officials issued a do-not drink order, the results that came back Thursday indicated the water was safe from a "microbiological standpoint," said Angelo Bellomo, the county's director of environmental health.

"We can't say what the quality of the water was prior to the samples," taken on Tuesday, Bellomo said. "We can only say that the water met the standard at the time it was sampled."

Guest complaints about low water pressure prompted a maintenance worker to make the gruesome discovery.

The cause of Lam's death has yet to be determined, but police have called her death suspicious. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.

Before she died, hotel surveillance footage showed her inside an elevator pushing buttons and sticking her head out the doors, looking in both directions.

Lam, of Vancouver, British Columbia, traveled alone to Los Angeles on Jan. 26 and was last seen five days later by workers at the 600-room hotel near Skid Row. She intended to travel to Santa Cruz, about 350 miles north of Los Angeles.