The tragic case of Elisa Lam has fascinated amateur sleuths and true crime obsessives for years, but one of the newest theories about her death has officially been debunked. In a new interview with E! News, Amy Price, the manager of the Cecil Hotel denied editing the footage of Elisa Lam that was featured in the new Netflix documentary series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian student, was staying at the notorious Los Angeles hotel in 2013 when she suddenly disappeared, and a few weeks later, surveillance footage of Lam before her disappearance was released online and soon went viral.
In the series, Price explained that she was the one who provided authorities with the footage of Lam, which was taken from one of the hotel's elevators. "First of all, I provided the footage. When it was presented to me … it's bizarre," she told the outlet, referring to the strange behavior that Lam is exhibiting in the clip. The footage has been at the center of most web sleuths' theories about the case, and some believed that the clip of Lam was edited or tampered with before it was publicly released.
Crime Scene addresses some of those theories, including the speculation that the footage has been slowed down, the time stamp has been blurred, and that a minute of footage has been removed. "That's absolutely false," Price said of the allegations of tampering. "I was a little surprised to hear that. I really hadn't heard that before the documentary. I'm not surprised people feel that way based on the momentum that a lot of the sleuths have."
According to Price, she and the rest of the staff at the Cecil Hotel "cooperated with the police 100 percent ... from the moment they arrived," and would have had no opportunity to tamper with any evidence after the investigation began. "There wasn't even a chance to even look at the tapes myself, I just handed them over. I provided a room for them to review them and that's exactly what they did," she explained. Besides, Price added, "what would be the reason for wanting to edit the footage?"
Nearly two weeks after her disappearance, Lam's body was eventually discovered in the water tanks on top of the hotel after guests began complaining about "dark" and foul-tasting water. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning by the Los Angeles County coroner, although amateur detectives have theorized that that it was caused by everything from paranormal forces to a serial killer. However, lead investigator Detective Wallace Tennelle supports the theory that Lam's death was a tragic accident, especially due to her history of bipolar disorder.
"My opinion is that she fell off her medication, and in her state, she happened to find her way onto the roof, got into the tank of water," Tennelle said, according to the CBC. "At the time, I think that water tank was maybe full. But as people used the tank, used water, unknown to her, the level was dropping to a point where she could no longer reach out and escape, and she died that way."
While it's unlikely that Tennelle or Price's comments will dissuade web sleuths from continuing to look into Lam's case, it seems like one mystery related to the odd surveillance footage has officially been solved.