Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel

Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel is a fascinating new true-crime docuseries on Netflix. Thanks to the story being told in just four hour-long episodes, it can easily be binged in a single sitting. And chances are that those who have watched already did just that since the story really pulls viewers in.

While the mystery is seemingly solved by the end, some details are left out and there are still a lot of questions that remain about what really happened that fateful night when college student Elisa Lam went missing.

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Like with other popular true-crime series like Unsolved Mysteries, some of the most burning questions were addressed in the final 10-15 minutes of the docuseries. But others remain.

10 Why Weren’t There Any Lobby Cameras?

vanishing at the cecil hotel video feeds

While the hotel was understandably very low budget and thus did not have top-notch security systems and the latest and greatest equipment, it seems odd that there was an elevator camera but no camera in the actual lobby of the hotel that would have captured what – if anything – Lam was running from.

The hotel manager Amy Price noted that there weren’t cameras in the hallways of every floor but she said they did have them in common areas. Wouldn’t the lobby be considered a pretty important common area? If one was there, or even at the front doors, it would easily have shown if someone else had come inside around the same time Elisa was seen on video.

9 Where Does Amy Price Work Now?

vanishing at the cecil hotel manager amy price

Amy Price, who was the general manager of the Cecil Hotel at the time of Elisa’s case, noted that she worked there through to 2017 when the hotel was purchased by a new owner. Does she still work in the hospitality business today or has the case tainted her views on the industry?

Usually, true crime docuseries and documentaries show details at the end that follow up with where each person or case is now. But there was nothing mentioned about Price and what she went on to do, but for her well wishes that the new owners manage to turn the venue around.

8 What Really Happened To Elisa Lam?

vanishing at the cecil hotel elisa lam back

The theory presented by the series is that Elisa stopped taking her medication and so she suffered a manic episode that included hallucinations and feelings of paranoia. It had happened before so it was definitely possible that, believing she was being chased or was in imminent danger, Elisa headed up to the roof and decided to try and hide in the water tank, eventually drowning when she was unable to get out.

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And while it’s the likeliest scenario in terms of what happened, since there’s no evidence of foul play of any kind, it’s still just a theory as there’s no concrete proof.

7 How Did Elisa Lam Get On The Roof?

vanishing at the cecil hotel exterior shot

While it’s a fact that Elisa somehow managed to get on top of the roof of the Cecil Hotel, how exactly she got there remains a mystery.

Hotel management and maintenance personnel swear up and down that the door to the rooftop is kept locked and if someone were to try and force it open, an alarm would sound. Only staff is permitted to be on the roof. But did she somehow manage to open it without triggering an alarm?

6 Why Does The Tuberculosis Test Have That Name?

While this fact had Internet sleuths’ minds racing, it turns out it really is just a totally bizarre coincidence that the test for tuberculosis is called the LAM-ELISA test – the reverse of the name Elisa Lam.

The meaning of the test name is a short form of Lipoarabinomannan (LAM) Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Despite conspiracy theories to the contrary, her toxicology report showed no indication that she was suffering from tuberculosis.

5 Who Owns / Owned The Cecil Hotel?

vanishing at the cecil hotel room key

The docuseries noted when the Cecil Hotel was erected, how much it cost to build, and when it was sold to new owners. But they never really who the previous or existing owners are. All viewers know about the current owners is that they are based in New York.

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That burning question can be answered, in part: while the hotel was built in 1924 by hoteliers William Banks Hanner, Charles L. Dix, and Robert H. Schops, new owners purchased it in 2007. The new owner who bought it in 2014 was hotelier Richard Born, after which New York-based Simon Baron Development acquired a ground lease on the property.

4 What Is The Status Of The Cecil Hotel Today?

vanishing at cecil hotel stay on main

The docuseries noted that the hotel was bought by a New York-based company with plans to re-open it as a hotel / residential property, including an eerie sounding idea for a rooftop wading pool. But what’s the status of the hotel today?

The Cecil Hotel, now officially known as Stay on Main, closed for renovation in 2019, with plans to re-open sometime in 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic might have slowed down renovations and thus could delay the opening date. There’s no definitive news just yet.

3 Why Didn’t Police Detection Dogs Lead To The Water Tank?

vanishing at the cecil hotel water tanks

The police did search the roof along with detection dogs, yet they never followed Elisa’s scent up there, nor nearby the water tanks. Even if she was coaxed up there by someone else, or even if she was killed and taken up the ladder into the water tank, her scent would still be present.

It’s possible the police did a quick search of the roof that wasn’t thorough enough. Or perhaps they did not bring the dog with them to the roof. Nonetheless, if the dog was able to track her scent all the way to a hallway window that led up to the fire escape, why not beyond that?

2 Should The Hotel Have Done More?

vanishing at the cecil hotel maintenance worker

A lawsuit alleged that the hotel should have done more when they saw Elisa acting erratically. But was it their job?

After her roommates complained about her behavior and she had to be moved to another room, should the hotel have called Elisa’s parents? If she was technically an adult, probably not. Nonetheless, many wonder if hotel staff should have done more to try and help.

1 What Does Morbid Do Now?

vanishing at the cecil hotel pablo vergara morbid

In another true-crime docuseries, Don’t F *** With Cats, Internet sleuths are depicted as having been a step ahead of authorities and playing a crucial role in revealing the identity of a killer. But in this series, a death metal musician named Pablo Vergara (stage name Morbid) was wrongly accused of murdering Elisa Lam by Internet sleuths. He was interviewed in the docuseries and discussed how the false accusations ruined his life and career. But where is Vergara now and what has he done since the dust settled on the case?

Other factors contributed to Vergara’s decision to shift gears away from death metal and the Morbid persona, including having a child. He now follows another passion of his – film. He shoots music videos and music documentaries and continues to play music in some capacity.

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