The seemingly strange behavior of once-missing tourist Elisa Lam paired with the discovery of her body Tuesday in a hotel water-storage tank begs questions about her actions before the 21-year-old's untimely death.
In an effort to find the Canadian traveler, the LAPD last week revealed security video of the woman in and out of what appears to be a hotel elevator. She pushes nearly all the buttons and walks in and out of the car, peering out in what could be interpreted as a fearful or almost paranoid fashion:
It's possible she was just scared because someone was following her and she couldn't get the car to move (it doesn't).
But we asked longtime club-drug expert Trinka Porrata, formerly of the LAPD, what her assessment was after viewing the video.
She says it's "hard to say" but ventured into the possibility that someone displaying similar behavior could be showing signs of ecstasy use:
She's "petting" something and then dancing a bit. Could be an Ecstasy pill that contains MDMA plus some other hallucinogen. Getting into the corner of the elevator and looking out repeatedly could seem like paranoia or just part of her hallucination. Hard to say from just that little bit. Even harder of course to guess whether it was something she took voluntarily or was slipped to her. Ecstasy IS considered a rape drug but so many pills called Ecstasy so often is a mixture or something else completely that they don't get the desired effects for a sexual assault.
Porrata, however, says ecstasy wouldn't be consistent with heading up to a water tank. She called that "a weird place to end up," unless Lam went their involuntarily.
She says those under the influence of MDMA ...
... can wander off to strange places in their hallucinations. Even if someone drugged her and her behavior went off the rails, it would be a strange place
She did say that PCP "has a tendency to 'attract' people to water."
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The L.A. county coroner's office is investigating the woman's death and will conduct toxicology tests to determine if drugs were in Lam's body, an official told the Weekly.
Results usually aren't made public for 4 to 6 weeks.
Meanwhile, those Cecil Hotel guests downtown who were drinking water from that tank Tuesday and perhaps for days? They were offered a 25 percent discount, according to a caller on a local AM radio station yesterday.