How many murders were committed at the Cecil Hotel?

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The Cecil Hotel was named a historic-cultural monument by the City Council in a unanimous 10-0 vote in Los Angeles, California on February 28, 2017
(Image credit: Getty Images / MARK RALSTON / Staff)

The Cecil Hotel has been bought to our attention in Netflix’s recent documentary series Crime Scene: the Vanishing at Cecil Hotel, investigating what really happened to Elisa Lam after her chilling disappearance.

She was reported missing in January 2013 and was found three weeks later, dead in the hotel’s water tank on the roof after residents complained about the pressure, taste, and color of the water. 

Her death was ruled an accident but it sparked mass internet conspiracies for the suspicious and bizarre details, including the famous CCTV footage that many still accuse the hotel of editing.

But the once opulent hotel is not unfamiliar with press attention and has been the site of many terrifying tragedies...

How many murders were committed at the Cecil Hotel?

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It's believed there have been at least 80 deaths at the hotel by suicide, overdose, or murder, sixteen of which are unexplained. The manager Amy Price said in the series: “The maintenance manager walked me through the entire hotel. Along the way, he would point and say, 'Someone died here, someone died there'. Suicides, overdoses, murders."

She continued: “At one point I think I asked him, 'Is there a room here that maybe somebody hasn't died in?' I never got used to that."

The Cecil Hotel opened in 1927 in Downtown Los Angeles and was designed to be the go-to hotel for business travelers and Hollywood tourists. However, after the Great Depression, the hotel began to decline and gained itself a reputation for crime and suspicious deaths. 

Many believe the hotel's vicinity to Skid Row is a contributing factor in its rise in violence and notoriety. The hotel changed to single room occupancy, which allowed long-term tenants and shared bathrooms. Because of this, the hotel began to attract some terrifying guests...

Richard Ramirez, known as ‘The Night Stalker’ was one of the many criminal guests. The infamous LA serial killer stayed at the hotel in the midst of his killing spree.

Another serial killer, Jack Unterweger from Austria, stayed at the hotel in 1991 and is thought to have killed at least three sex workers during his stay. Even the Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, is rumored to have been seen at the hotel.

Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is trainee news writer who writes for My Imperfect life, Woman & Home and Goodto. Naomi writes articles from fashion trends and skincare to entertainment news.