Elisa Lam was a bright, thoughtful, and imaginative student. Her interests in fashion and talents for writing were weighed down by the unfortunate demons of bipolar disorder and mental suppression, clouding the circumstances that most assume led to her initial vanishing and tragic death.

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The Cold Case Detective series are all written and researched by TJ Ruesch. Without his knowledge and skills they would not be possible.

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50 COMMENTS

  1. The first episode of Cold Case Detective. This video has been weeks in the making and we hope you found it educational. Next weeks episode is on the mysterious disappearance of Suzanne Lyall. Follow CCD on social media:

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    Also if you have any questions or information regarding the Elisa Lam case or Cold Case Detective in general, please email coldcasedetective@top5s.co.uk

  2. If every person who claimed or was diagnosed with bi polar and/or depression it would be at least 75% of the earth's population.
    Are you sad when bad things happen? yes. Oh, you suffer from depression.
    But are you happy when good things happen? yes. Oh, you're also bi polar.

  3. Looks to me that at one point, outside the lift, she pulls back on her left fingers with such force she even bends her knees to assist in that force. But what triggered her curiosity to climb on top of a tall water tank in the first place should probably give grounds for speculation to a motive into her death. Has anyone learned what the time stamp on the lift video was? Morning, afternoon, night? Police report does not mention this.

  4. I think she's just having a paranoid episode poor girl this is just a mental health disorder and i think its sick people are trying to make it about them bye calling it a conspiracy get out more and you'll have a more interesting life

  5. I've just noticed something. Why didn't the elevators close after she pushed all the buttons??? Was someone outside the elevator pushing the button to keep the door open? Is that who she was talking too?

  6. Wait, so she got in the water tank, them took her clothes off and drowned and they think it's because she was bipolar.. Now doesn't that actually sound like someone was following her ESPECIALLY with how she was acting on the elevator, raped and killed her and threw her in the tank and then threw her clothes in the tank so he could get rid of all the evidence. That sounds more plausible imo. My guess is whoever she was hiding from hid in the stairwell and when she went out to see if he was still following her BOOM, he snatched her, took her up to the roof at knife or gun point, raped her, killed her and threw her along with her clothes in the water tank. Also, why the fuck did the cops stop investigating when there's so many unanswered questions. Like anal bleeding or the fact she posted on Tumblr there was a creepy guy she felt was following her. Doesn't make any sense to me.

  7. So… Why did the elevator door stay open so unusually long? Was she pressing the buttons in order to get them to close because she thought she was being staked? That always seemed odd.

  8. She wrote often that some guy kept following her. Also the fact that the elevator was stuck and the alarm 🚨 to the roof did not go off in addition that the water tank was closed after she went might mean that a male employee at the hotel 🏨 murdered her. Also bupropion is the generic version of Wellbutrin.

  9. Im sorry, I've seen the footage from the elevator before and to me…people miss an obvious thing. The door doesn't close. How quickly does it close for you guys? I think she's doing all the weird stuff there because she's trying to trigger the sensor to close the doors. In the beginning she behaves normally…but the doors don't. Anyone ask why the doors seem to malfunction? Because when she gets off completely they close without any issue

  10. The way you wrote this and spoke of her is honestly on par with the very best of the biggest and most well respected documenterians of all time. Thank you so much for using your platform to call for people to end senseless speculation and calling for better understanding of mental illness. This was done so perfectly that I really feel like it deserves some sort of award. And I'm serious, too. Very serious.

    I don't know what happened to Elisa Lam, and I don't want to act like I do. I'll just try and respect her passing by hoping that, through outlets such as this, more people will become aware of the perils of mental illness and we can learn to treat those with it with more respect, dignity, and compassion.

  11. Whatever happened to Elisa was tragic but the pain of the parents goes on. My heart goes out to them. Very sensitively done. Please do more. I'm sure most families going through this kind of unremtting hell would be grateful for the exposure given to their lost loved ones.

  12. Yes, it is an odd case. Yes, she suffered from mental illness. No, we are NOT trained medical examiners; we have to leave the cause of death to the experts. Occam’s razor, folks. Google it. She had a psychotic breakdown and ended up in the water tank of her own volition. Nope- no paranormal activity, no boogie man, etc. My bff and roommate suffered from the same bipolar disorder and ended up taking her own life. It’s real and it’s tragic. RIP Elisa Lam. Great video btw; thorough research and conclusions are sound.

  13. Schizophrenia is the main cause. Bipolar alone doesn't give you hallucination my Doctor told me it was more of Schizophrenia to cause a patient to hallucinate. The Bipolar is just triggering uncontrollable emotion such as mania=anger, sadness=depression bipolar means 2 polar such as manic and depression. If you are hallucinating then you have more illness not bipolar alone.

  14. This is so crazy and so sad. Personally to me it looks like maybe she was being chased by someone or ''something'', than for some reason the elevator doors wouldn't close, and the whole ordeal may have triggered her disorders and caused her to act a bit strange, disoriented, or in a panic, which the disorder does but it doesn't mean she lost her mind. And whatever may have been following or chasing her I believe eventually killed her. I don't believe this is just a bipolar person going crazy and killing herself. There had to be more involved. I hate that so many people are trying to just blame her mental disorders, she was obviously a sane, smart young girl, bipolar disorder alone I do not believe would do this. Great video, still sending prayers to her family and her, I hope she is resting in peace.

  15. what stands out at first to me is the fact the elevator doors did not close for all that time. No matter how many times she walked back in and pushed buttons. Then when she walked out of camera view it starts to work.

  16. I just don't get how the elevator didn't do anything the entire time. No buttons did anything for her? She definitely pushed buttons and for MINUTES, nothing happened. Doors stayed open, she went out came back in, nothing. Also, the whole LAM-ELISA TB test thing is just absolutely BIZARRE. There's so much more here than people just not wanting to believe a simple answer. I think most of the time, most people really DO want to believe the easy things.

  17. Ive always found the elevator clip weird. No matter how many buttons you press an elevator door will close.. why did that door not close for like 3 to 4 minutes?.. that makes me think it’s something paranormal. But her hand gestures and body language? Makes me think it’s something psychological..

  18. Probably the most thoughtful, intuitive and well-assembled video on the strange Elisa Lam case I have ever viewed. There were fewer 'how in the hell did she end up in the tank' comments, and what sealed the deal was including comments from the witnesses concerning the fact that their relative's and Miss Lam's death were under eerily similar circumstances. When I first heard of Miss Lam's demise, it reminded me so much of the 'Dark Waters'' movie plot about the young girl and her demise as well.

  19. A mentally ill women accidentally took her own life, acting irrationally in a severe state of psychosis. She had a long history of odd behaviour and this instance was unfortunate but not a great mystery. People claiming murder and supernatural forces are buying into the "mystery" of the case and ignoring whats right infront of them. If you were to look at this with no context you would think that this is a crazy person acting irrationally. She gets in the elevator calmly and presses every floor? then suddenly begins acting paranoid. It just seems so obvious to me that she was not well.

  20. I was diagnosed bipolar I with psychotic features just over a decade ago and I have to say I wish my healthcare professionals took the same care as you do in this video to understand the causes/triggers of episodes. It's fashionable today just to say that we have to be sympathetic to mental illness, but without going into any detail about all the stresses you outline here. It is like sympathy without understanding. In medical terms that's like feeling sorry for a cancer patient without giving them any medication. From the perspective of a long-time sufferer and someone who has had an interest in Elisa Lam's case from the beginning I find your analysis really persuasive, perhaps definitive.

    A note on 'delusion' . As a psychotic feature, people tend to thing you see things that aren't there. That's not quite right. It's more that your entire world view is re-oriented. Thinks take on a hugely symbolic relevance and it is as if you are in a story that makes sense to you. You might even have insight on this, accepting other people can't see it, but still your belief is unshakeable. You believe in things like destiny, insight, secret relationships hidden below the surface etc. That is very much compounded by lack of social support, loneliness or isolation, coming off your meds, lack of sleep, drinking etc. You do stupid, stupid things. I had a psychotic episode that lasted 6 months and the effects in terms of recovery lasted 6-7 years, coming to terms with it and understanding it. It enters a symbiotic relationship with depression/mania, fueling and being fueled by them. When you suggest Elisa may have felt a powerful connection with the hotel, or with water, that is plausible.

  21. Her actions and body language suggest she might be hallucinating while 'talking to someone' outside the lift. If she was under the impression she was being followed or intimidated then she may have inadvertently taken her own life. Granted some things are harder to fit into that theory but taking her own clothes off might just have been a move by her not thinking straight. It references she is taking multiple medications to help cope with her bipolar disorder. If she was having a particularly bad episode or feeling particularly low then who knows what she was thinking. Very sad to see someone so alone and scared resulting in their death.

  22. "The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic." – Alan Moore

  23. very impressed that your perspective and respect for this situation seem to have been the focal point of this. finally answered my questions about her case. and as a person with mental health struggles such as myself, again, i appreciated the massive respect you gave for her and her circumstances. thank you for shedding further light on destigmatizing mental illnesses.

  24. I appreciate that you didn't give the supernatural angle much consideration because, c'mon, it's just silly. The case can still be intriguing, chilling, and maddening without ghosts or time-traveling elevators.

  25. I think too much is being read into all this. It's a sexy mystery because it involves a pretty young girl, a weird video and the history of the hotel. If it was some old bum on skid row I doubt anyone would give a shit.

  26. I can relate to this representation of Elisa. 21 years old, avid Tumblr user, exploring the darker parts of herself, lonely, creative spirit, moody, a bit repressed…
    Prayers and peace to her family and may justice be served if there was any foul play.
    An untimely, unnecessary death- she seemed like a beautiful s0ul!

  27. Bipolar disorder isn't a psychotic disorder in itself though. Also, it takes a long time for drugs like those to completely leave the system. What I mean is even though the substances weren't visible in the tests, the drugs don't just disappear from your body when you stop taking them. I really doubt that a manic episode caused all this, especially since she seemed to have very good insight regarding her issues and was aware of how the illness affected her.

    Another thing is unless she hasn't had a severe manic episode before, it is very unlikely to happen for the first time and so suddenly at her age. I don't know, something doesn't seem right. I suspect some type of foul play. Doesn't have to be a cold blooded murder, but perhaps a fatal accident involving another person. She may have been killed by accident or the person in question did so without planning it out. This person then probably panicked and decided to dump her body in the tank as things decompose faster in water, thus getting rid of possible evidence so they wouldn't be linked to the case.

    The way she is portrayed in the conclusions (not the ones made by you, your video is great and very respectful) makes her seem completely disorientated and somewhat "out of it" and that isn't fair. She seems self aware and experienced as well as smart and thoughtful. Although I obviously didn't know her, it doesn't seem like something she would do. And the whole case is too shady in general. This is just my opinion.

  28. If it was not for the place her body was found in, that tank of water which somehow I feel difficult to believe that this small woman in a mental crisis could climb in open it and ''jump in'' I would say that her death sadly it was fruit of her irrational behavior.
    I still think that she as pressing those buttons to keep the elevator open waiting for someone and even seems to speak with this person. Maybe someone she met, was nervous and picking out of elevator while waiting. We see her speck with someone outside maybe convincing her to follow him. Then she finally leaves.

    Again with her background I could say that she was having a schizophrenic episode and could be talking to herself.
    But she was found naked, I don't think that during an episode your first thought it's to go to the roof, where somehow you now you will find an open tank, then undress yourself, here we have an act with which requires her to stop and decide to take her clothe off, somehow climb into that tank while holding your clothes (doesn't seem easy for a small woman and more during a mental crisis), throw your clothes there again something a person that has an episode will not do you don't think about this details while having an episode, and then jump in.

    I suffer from anxiety and depression and while it can't be compared to a bipolar disorder I had severe anxious episodes, and while I feel like this I don't do such a premeditative things. It's difficult to concentrate, difficult to think clear, difficult to walk straight etc. i don't see her panic, I don't see her being erratic she is pressing those buttons with a motive, keep the door open. Then she talks to someone and leaves.
    Next thing we know her body is found NAKED in a tank of water. Sounds like a murder to me.
    As someone who has a mental illness I feel extremely sad that her case was left cold only because she had this background.
    Makes me think that if one day someone rapes me and murders me and then hides my body in some place that is even impossible for me to access no one will do a thing because I take anxiety and sleeping medication which I guess immediately converts me in an unstable person who probably committed suicide no reason to investigate more.

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