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The Details That Don't Make Sense In Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel

Netflix's latest true crime series has some serious inconsistencies.

In Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, Netflix investigates the seemingly mysterious death of Elisa Lam, who, at just 21 years old, was found in a rooftop water tank in Los Angeles' Cecil Hotel. For years, true crime fans and Internet sleuths have been obsessed with Lam's death, particularly because — as the series details — the Cecil Hotel was already an unsettling place when Lam arrived for a stay in 2013. Throughout the years, several guests took their own lives at the Cecil Hotel, and infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker (who is also the subject of a Netflix true crime docuseries) stayed at the Cecil several times.

Elisa Lam's death, thanks to extremely strange video footage of the Canadian college student in an elevator in the Cecil Hotel, has long served as an object of fascination for crime buffs and conspiracy theorists. However, as The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel eventually reveals, Lam's death very likely wasn't foul play, and the theories surrounding her death had some extremely serious consequences.

Throughout its four episodes, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel strings viewers along, presenting Lam's death as a mystery that could have been foul play or even murder. However, in the fourth and final episode "The Hard Truth," the real cause of Lam's death is revealed... and the information given certainly seems as if it should have been presented right from the beginning, which could tell a story about mental health struggles rather than sensationalizing a tragedy. Here's the real story behind Elisa Lam's deeply sad death, and why Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel could be seriously misleading.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is an irresponsible retelling

Essentially, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is told backwards, burying the lede and hiding important information about Lam's mental health struggles within the final episode. Lam, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had displayed some seriously erratic behavior in the days before her death, including leaving threatening notes for her roommates in the hotel and being asked to leave a live television taping, none of which had been disclosed to the public. Ultimately, the medical examiner reveals, during the series, that Lam had not been taking her prescribed medication to treat her bipolar disorder. As a result, her fateful trip to the Cecil Hotel's water tank — and subsequent drowning — was likely part of an episode brought on by Lam's serious mental illness, and the fact that Lam was nude was likely due to hypothermia and her struggle to survive.

Meanwhile, angry Internet sleuths decided, of their own accord, that Lam was murdered by Mexican musician Pablo Vergara, who goes by the stage name "Morbid." Vergara stayed at the Cecil a full year before Lam's death, and was in Mexico when her body was found; despite that, people on the Internet were convinced that he killed Lam, and tormented him until he attempted to take his own life. Vergara appears in the documentary, detailing this harrowing experience publicly for the first time.

Beyond that, a fair amount of Netflix's storytelling in the series is irresponsible. Rather than speak to people who knew Lam, like her friends and family, or rely on evidence from forensic pathologist Dr. Jason Tovar, the documentary spends an inordinate amount of time interviewing Internet sleuths, who, as experts do point out, do not have access to all of the information surrounding Lam's death.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is streaming on Netflix now, but when you watch, be sure to approach it with a healthy amount of skepticism.