Popular Unsolved Cases

Miriam Almaguer, Reporter

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  1. The Death of Elisa Lam
  2. The Boy in the Box
  3. Room 1046
  4. The Bar or The Child

 1.  The Death of Elisa Lam

There are strange things that happen at hotels, yet not as strange as the Cecil Hotel. On Jan 31, 2013, Elisa Lam was last seen in the elevator of the Cecil Hotel. According to surveillance cameras she went into the elevator, started pressing buttons, and kept looking around as if someone was following her. She kept talking to herself as if someone was next to her, hiding, and looking, but there was still nothing but herself in that footage. She was found on Feb 19 in a water tank, and the cause of death was announced as a drowning, which made the hotel realize that she was the reason for the water having a weird taste and looking funky. They politely told people to not use the water, causing it to be out of order for a couple of days.

Elisa was born in Vancouver, Canada. She came to visit America. Once she arrived to Los Angeles, she registered to the Cecil Hotel and was supposed to sleep with roommates, but ended up alone because the manager of the hotel called it “weird behavior” between the roomates. Lam had depression and a bipolar disorder but her family said she never had thoughts of suicidal attempts.

Though she had those illnesses, she was still a healthy, happy and full-spirited person; no one thought she would have ever done this. Once the body was found they saw that she did not have any clothes on, and her clothes were floating a few feet next to her body. She still had her watch and her room key with her. There was not any sexual assault results reported in her autopsy so the parents ended up disappointed since they only got a report about her drowning, the parents knew there was more but nothing was there apparently  They knew their daughter never had the idea of killing herself so this caused more suspicion, especially since she died in a water tank, which was on the rooftop in which only staff had access to. The water tank was nearly impossible to open, which made people question how she got in the actual tank itself. It still makes no sense to this day how she had access to go to the rooftop , open the door without setting the fire alarm, and get in the tank all by herself causing people to make theories about her death.

People have made shows talking about her death or something related to her death. Connections to the show like the famous American Horror Story they used the Cecil hotel and bringing the scary mysterious vibe of the lady of the elevator never coming back and its stories about the hotel itself. There have been big shows talking about the death of Lam but never really saying but they aim to that direction about her. Lam’s death was the biggest mystery in Los Angeles in 2013 since it happened in the most famous hotel in Los Angeles. Causing inspiration on others about her story and to make up whatever happened to her.

Here are some theories revolving her death:

  1. Many say that she was on drugs, and someone, maybe a worker, gave her a drug that made her go wild and once caught into their hands she was killed. She was just a regular customer and the only way to access the roof was only if you worked for the hotel.
  2. Most say it was the work of a ghost, because the famous “Black Dahlia” was found there before she had died. Which many turned to face that she was possessed and the ghost made her do unfortunate things.From the time when she got there to the time she died, since she did have strange behavior with her roomates during the hotel.
  3. Some believe that someone was following her, but she decided not to say anything since she was alone. They say that the person had been chasing her down for a while and killed her.

2.  The Boy In The Box : Loss of a child and its identity

As America’s children are being named, this particular child does not seem to be open to the world.  The child had no name, no family and had no idea even who they were. That person is “The Boy In The Box.”

In the state of Philadelphia, on Feb. 25, 1957 an unknown boy, dead, left at an illegal dumping ground was found on the scene. One hunter noticed the boy but feared that if he reported the boy they would have had suspected him and would have confiscated his traps since it was illegal to do so in that area, so he continued on what he was doing and avoided the boy. Then out of the blue, a college student going through the woods came upon an animal and decided to follow it just to make sure the animal was okay, saw the box, looked inside and noticed the boy. Even though he feared that the police would suspect him as well, he still called and informed them about the boy.

He was wrapped around a flannel blanket inside of a cardboard box when found . The boy in the box looked like he was roughly 3-7 years old, according to the police. By looking at his conditions, he was beaten and covered with scars from his ankles to his chin. Though he was in that condition, the police needed to know who he was so they got his fingerprint and found that this boy didn’t exist in their files or anywhere else in the state of Philadelphia. They had no identification of who he was or who he was related to. They decided to see if anybody could claim the boy by notifying the whole town.

Flyers were put up all over Philadelphia about the boy in the box, but nobody seemed to know the boy which caused more confusion to the police. Who would have left this boy without any information about him? Was he even a boy? Did the family stay quiet about him and decide not come out to say he was theirs? Who was this person? There are many questions still to this day trying to be solved,but as of now the boy was left without any identity with him and will always remain as ‘The Boy In The Box’.   

Here are some popular theories:

Theory 1 : That the boy wasn’t a boy but was a girl and that the death of the child was an accident. In a foster home there were similar things that connected the child to the building similar items as to the blanket and the actual box itself inside the building.  Some employees even say that the child was actually the daughter of the owner of the foster care and made the boy grow up as a girl but once an accident occurred, he cut the hair of the child and left him in that area so no suspicion could go on to him. Viewed from the public eye, they saw the boy as an actual girl than a boy making it even harder to identify him.

Theory 2 :  A mysterious women known as “ M “ told the police how the child was killed. According to “M” he lived with an abusive mother and while dinner was going on he threw up his food causing the mother to get mad and to hit his head on the wall for punishment. Then later the boy was actually killed by the hands of his mother in a bathtub. Which connected to the fact that he had a bump on his head and his fingers were pruned , but once police found information about “ M “ they saw that the theory was unnecessary, because they saw that “M” had a mental illness in her reports so, they talked to her family and neighbors and they all said the same thing, there was no child around the house in that time. So the connections did not fit. Leaving them in a cold state.

3.  Room 1046

Bringing only a toothbrush and wallet, Roland T. Owen checked into the Hotel President on Jan. 2 at 1:20 am located in Kansas City. He registered to room 1046, an interior room on the 10th floor. He complained about the prices of the hotel, which were high since the hotel was near more into a fancier neighborhood.

Throughout Owen’s stay he would leave a lot. The staff from the hotel found him very odd, but businessmen like him always checked in the hotel so they did not think much of it. It started out by the way his behavior was, there were many witnesses in the time, so they knew somewhat of what he was doing or who he was with him. A cleaning maid came by a day after he checked in, and decided to come by and clean his room since it was around 12 o’clock and not many hotel residences were working. She saw that the door was locked from the inside, which Owen kindly opened and saw that his room was full of darkness, and the only support of light was single lamp. Even though she found it odd, she continued onto her job. Owen mentioned to her if she would mind not locking the door because he was going to have a friend visiting that day, in which she did not mind. About 4 hours later she entered his room to see Owen asleep, then seeing a note on the side of his bed saying “ Don, I will be back in fifteen minutes. Wait.” then continued cleaning and left. On the fourth day, the cleaning maid had come back once again to clean the room, she walked in into an even darker room and saw Owen had gotten a phone call and answered. While the conversation went on, she overheard him talking to Don. Don kept asking if he was hungry or not but Owen kept denying it. Once she was done she and Owen had a whole conversation about her and the hotel, while leaving the room, the door was locked from the outside meaning someone had locked Owen from his own room. Later that day she decided to come back and put in fresh, new towels but was interrupted by a deep voice saying that they did not need any, she thanked them and left.

In the same afternoon, two more guests checked in the hotel. One was named Jean Owen ( not related to Roland ) ended up staying right next to 1046, getting 1048. In her stay she had noises from next door, saying that she could hear a man and a woman arguing but decided not to complain about it at the front desk. The second guest was another woman but one classier than others; the bellboy saw her as a ‘ commercial woman’ than an actual guest. She said she needed to meet the man that was in the room 1046, which searching for him, she eventually gave up because she could not find him. The next morning the hotel saw that Owen’s phone line had been cut for about 10 minutes, so the hotels receptionist went to check up on him, and when we did he saw that his door had a “Do not disturb” sign, so he knocked and asked Owen to hang up since he wasn’t using the line. He assumed that Owen was drunk and so he left, an hour later the hotel’s operator said that Owen’s line was still off the hook, so the receptionist let himself in with the master key, saw Owen drunk and connected the phone back to the hook. Another hour later the operator called again about the hook, so the receptionist went back up to his room and saw that Owen was covered in blood.

He was stabbed many times, his arms, legs and neck were restrained by a cord, had a fractured lung and skull. When the police arrived he was still alive so asked him what had happened, he replied saying “I fell against the bathtub” He was pronounced dead at the hospital upon arrival  Investigators saw in Owen’s autopsy that he was already hurt when the receptionist came the first time, but was too injured to grab the phone and call for help. The investigators could not find any connections about the crime scene that connected to Owen from the clothing to the murder weapon itself. They only found four fingerprints on the phone but they were never identified.

The investigators found there was no such thing of a Roland T. Owen and the man that visited him, the police found a guy that matched up with the evidence they had, but they found no such thing connecting him to the case, when tried investigating about him. For Owen’s funeral, someone by the name of Lucille had left a bouquet of small flowers, covered the expenses of the funeral and a note saying “Love forever.”  This story has caught one’s eye and they ways of how it was worked out. Guess we’ll never know what really happened in the Room 1046.

Theories of Room 1046:

  1. There are not many theories about the case since it was so cold but many say that the women from the hotel and Don both were involved with the murder and they assumed that the women killed Owen and not Don.
  2. Some say that Owen and Don had a relationship involved, but Don cracked and ended up killing Owen out of anger because he was with the women from that night.
  3. Since Roland T. Owen did not exist, they assumed he was a spy working with the government but ended up with a controversy with Don and so he was killed by Don.   

4.  The Bar or The Child

This story in the Unsolved Cases we talk about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. She was born in Leicester, England, United Kingdom. She has two-year-old twin siblings and has both of her parents. McCann was on a week-long family trip to Portugal and got an apartment complex named Praia da Luz. The parents of McCann which would dine at a restaurant 180 feet away from the apartment complex with friends would feel that that night was different from the others. On May. 3, 2007 of that night they noticed that their daughter was kidnapped. From each one of the parents, they brought a total of 8 kids that whole trip and so they thought it would not hurt if they left their children for just a bit in the apartment while they went to go out and eat. They always kept the back door locked, but on that night they saw that they had left it unlocked, they checked on each child of the parents and saw that they were there safe, but only McCann was gone. The mother of McCann around 10 pm. discovered that she had disappeared.

There was no clear evidence of a break-in since the door was left unlocked, the police could not connect on how the child disappeared, but yet again anything could have happened that night. There had been a recent sighting of McCann on January of 2018, residents saw a woman in purple matching a perfect description of McCann in which they asked a question to, but there has not been any information about that. This has been one of the most popular unsolved cases in the U.K and in which has been even a celebration for her ten years disappearance.

Theories about the McCann cold case :

  1. The parents of McCann killed her on accident in the apartment and the parents got rid of the body, the police labeled them as suspects, but due to lack of evidence their label was lifted
  2. Some believe that she was taken in the time a botched burglary or stolen by a child sex trafficker, which many residents saw a man caring a little girl but decided not to engage.