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Water tested after body of missing woman found in LA hotel tank

A maintenance worker at the hotel found the body after guests complained of low water pressure.

The hotel in LA where the dead body was found.
The hotel in LA where the dead body was found.
Image: (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

THE BODY OF a 21-year-old Canadian tourist was found in a water tank on the roof of a Los Angeles hotel three weeks after she went missing.

British tourist Michael Baugh and his wife said water had only trickled for days as they brushed their teeth, showered and drank from the taps at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, but they could not have imagined the disturbing reason.

“The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally,” Baugh said.

Water tanks seen on the roof of the Hotel Cecil where police say the body of a woman was found wedged in one of the water tanks. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials were expected to release the results of tests on the water today.

When the body was discovered on Tuesday, they issued a do-not-drink order while a lab analyses the water, said Terrance Powell, a director coordinating the department’s response. The disclosure contradicts a previous police statement that the water had been deemed safe.

Powell said the water was also used for cooking in the hotel; a coffee shop in the hotel would remain closed and has been instructed to sanitize its food equipment before reopening.

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Photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department of Elisa Lam of Vancouver. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Police Department, File)

“Our biggest concern is going to be faecal contamination because of the body in the water,” Powell said. He said the likelihood of contamination is “minimal” given the large amount of water the body was found in, but the department is being extra cautious.

The remains of Elisa Lam, 21, were found by a maintenance worker at the 600-room hotel that charges $65 a night after guests complained about the low water pressure.

Police detectives were working to determine if her death was the result of foul play or an accident.

- AP

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