The water ran black.
It took a few seconds for the water to run clear again. The guests assumed this to be normal. The hotel was located near Skid Row, after all! Reluctant to address the problem, Mr. and Mrs. Baugh would continue to drink and bathe in this foul water.
Finally, on February 19, 2013, Sabina decided it was time to make a complaint. A maintenance worker was sent to check the rooftop water tanks. It was then that he made a terrifying, grotesque discovery: inside one of the cisterns was the liquefying body of a young woman. Firefighters came to remove the remains, and police were summoned to identify her. The woman was a 21-year-old Canadian student named Elisa Lam.
It wasn't long after that CNN arrived and began reporting this disturbing find, and asking Sabina about what had happened.
The events leading to Lam's disappearance and death are mysterious. She was last seen in the Cecil Hotel on January 31, 2013. CCTV footage (as seen on the right) reveals Lam showing signs of strange behavior in the hotel elevator, as if hiding from someone: pressing buttons for multiple floors, hiding in the corner of the lift, repeatedly and cautiously peering into the corridor, and so forth. A few days later, she was declared missing. So how did she end up in the water supply? Was it suicide? Foul play? Dark forces from the hotel's past? Or perhaps it was simply, as L.A.P.D. Sergeant Rudy Lopez stated, "a very, very strange accident".
Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: if the Baughs never called the maintenance man...they never would have known that they had been consuming and bathing in a dissolving corpse.