Lopez said the hotel has four cisterns on its roof that are each about 10 feet tall, 4.5 feet wide and hold at least 1,000 gallons of water.
Lam’s body was found Tuesday morning at the bottom of one cistern that was about three-quarters full of water, Lopez said.
The opening at the top of the cistern is too small to accommodate firefighters and equipment, so they had to cut a hole in the storage tank to recover Lam’s body.
The cisterns are on a platform at least 10 feet above the roof.
To get to the tanks, someone would have to go to the top floor then take a staircase with a locked door and emergency alarm preventing roof access.
Another ladder would have to be taken to the platform and a person would have to climb the side of the tank.
Lopez said there are no security cameras on the roof.
Lam intended to travel to Santa Cruz, about 350 miles north of Los Angeles. Officials said she tended to use public transportation and had been in touch with her family daily until she disappeared.
The Cecil Hotel was built in the 1920s and refurbished several years ago. It had once been the occasional home of infamous serial killers such as Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, and Austrian prison author Jack Unterweger, who was convicted of murdering nine prostitutes in Europe and the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported.
Baugh and his wife had planned to go to SeaWorld on Wednesday but instead camped in the hotel lobby for more than 12 hours because they refused to sign a health risk waiver to stay in their rooms as they waited to hear back from their tour agency to be placed elsewhere.
“We’ve got nowhere to go, we’ve got all our luggage with us,” Michael Baugh said.
They also called their family and the British Embassy trying to figure out what to do.
The couple hadn’t touched any water at the hotel since learning the body had been discovered.
Eventually, they were placed at another downtown hotel with a less than sterling reputation, from what they heard.
“We’re just going from one dodgy place to another,” Baugh said, resigned, “but at least there’s water.”