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Associated Press , Published February 21 2013

Tests: Water in LA hotel tank where body was found won't cause illness

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.


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