Netflix’s ‘Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’ examines the tale of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist, who disappeared from the downtown Los Angeles hotel on January 31, 2013. She was found dead in a water tank of the same 19 days later. Although there have been many theories surrounding her mysterious case, the coroner’s office eventually deemed her passing to be the sad result of accidental drowning, with her bipolar disorder playing a crucial role. So, because it’s been a while, let’s find out all that there is to know about the person who discovered her remains, shall we?
Who Found Elisa Lam’s Body?
Santiago Lopez, a former employee of the Cecil Hotel, is the one who eventually located Elisa Lam in one of the hotel’s four 1,000-gallon water tanks on the rooftop. The maintenance worker had begun his association with the hotel in 2010, doing all kinds of humble duties to ensure its smooth running. As per court documents, even though Santiago had never corresponded with Elisa during her stay, he knew exactly who she was because of the police and media frenzy that ensued following her sudden disappearance. In fact, he had even aided officers in their search for her in the initial days.
Around mid-February 2013, the hotel’s guests began complaining about low pressure, weird taste, and an almost black-ish color coming from the water taps. When this report reached Santiago on February 19, he decided to head to the roof in an attempt to determine the root cause of the problem. He used the elevator to reach the top floor before taking the staircase to the terrace. Then, upon disabling the alarm system, Santiago climbed on top of the platform where the four tanks sat. He decided to check the main one first, and that’s when he spotted that the 20-lb hatch for it was open and that Elisa’s decomposing body was floating inside.
Where Is Santiago Lopez Now?
When Elisa Lam’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Cecil Hotel in September 2013, Santiago Lopez was, of course, called for a declaration. He detailed everything that transpired that day and said, “I noticed the hatch to the main water tank was open and looked inside and saw an Asian woman lying face-up in the water approximately twelve inches from the top of the tank.”
Santiago also added that, to the best of his knowledge, no other guest had ever been injured similarly or had unauthorized access to the water tanks. Thanks to Santiago’s statements, even though the Lams’ family could not blame Elisa’s death on the hotel (the case was ultimately dismissed), the world, watching everything unfold, was finally able to make more sense of how the 21-year-old passed away. Her mental state, her lack of medicating, and, most importantly, the hatch being open all pointed towards a tragic accident.
As for Santiago and his current whereabouts, with the Cecil Hotel now being closed for complete renovation under new ownership, he has had to move on and find other ventures. Unfortunately, though, as it seems like Santiago prefers to stay well away from social media, we could not find the exact details of what he’s up to.
Read More: Where Is Elisa Lam’s Family Now?