UPDATE 1-Body found in LA hotel water tank may be missing Canadian tourist

Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:58pm EST

(Adds details)

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES Feb 19 (Reuters) - A body found in a large water tank on top of a downtown Los Angeles hotel on Tuesday may belong to a 21-year-old Canadian woman who went missing under suspicious circumstances while staying there late last month, police said.

Elisa Lam, a student from Vancouver, British Columbia, who was visiting Southern California on her own, was last seen at the Cecil Hotel on Jan. 31. Los Angeles Police detectives had characterized her disappearance as suspicious.

A security video taken in an elevator at the hotel and released by the LAPD last week showed Lam acting strangely, hiding in a corner and repeatedly peering around the elevator doors into the hallway.

A body had been found in one of four large water tanks on top of the Cecil Hotel early on Tuesday after a maintenance worker went up to investigate reports of low water pressure, a Los Angeles police spokeswoman said.

Detectives were on the scene, but had not yet determined whether the remains were those of the missing woman, the spokeswoman said.

Some two dozen firefighters could be seen cutting through one of the four large, cylindrical water tanks under a canopy that shielded them from news helicopters overhead.

Police have said that the reason for Lam's visit to Los Angeles was unclear, but that her final destination was expected to be Santa Cruz in central California.

She speaks Cantonese as well as English and was known to use public transportation such as trains and buses. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker, desking by G Crosse)