Elaine Park’s oddly similar disappearance

I was searching for information about the details of LAPD’s search for Elisa Lam in February of 2013 when I came across a disappearance with some uncanny similarities. While I realize it is unlikely the two disappearances are in any way connected, I feel compelled to briefly discuss some of the parallels.

Elaine’s Disappearance

On January 28, 2017, a 20-year-old woman named Elaine Park failed to respond to a text her mother sent that morning. Elaine had texted her mom around 9 p.m. the prior evening. Elaine is described as having been from the Glendale in California. By Monday, Elaine’s mother had still not received any responses to attempts to contact her daughter and so she filed a missing persons report with the Glendale police.

Not hearing back from her daughter was alarming to Elaine’s mom because it was not like her daughter to completely ignore calls or texts. Her mom was not immediately concerned about her daughter’s whereabouts on Saturday morning, but as time went by with no word from Elaine, her concern escalated.

Days later, on February 2, Elaine’s grey 2015 Honda Civic was found on the Pacific Coast Highway. The car was reportedly parked near the Corral Canyon intersection. The location of the vehicle is a busy, heavily trafficked area. Elaine’s phone, and other belongings, were found inside the car. The car was not locked and the key was in the ignition.

The last known person to see Elaine alive appears to have been her boyfriend. She left her boyfriend’s home in the early morning hours of January 28th. Video surveillance shows her leaving and going toward a vehicle (said to be her own). Glendale police claim that the video confirms she left his home on her own, and that he did not follow her out to the vehicle. For this reason, and perhaps others I do not know, the police do not believe the boyfriend was involved in her disappearance. He has been cleared by them of any involvement.

While I was able to find the portion of the video showing her walking out to a vehicle, the one I viewed did not clearly show her entering it. The video I came across also did not show the vehicle pulling away. Elaine’s mother believes there might be more to the video than is shown in the clip made public.

Elaine’s boyfriend claimed that she left his home the morning of the 28th after she had what he described as a panic attack around 4 a.m. He said he tried to keep her from leaving the home that same morning, but that she did anyway.

To date, Elaine has not been located. Her mom continues to search for her and a reward has been offered in exchange for information leading to answers about Elaine’s disappearance and whereabouts. A website has been established for people to provide tips – including those wishing to remain anonymous.

The above is an extremely simple summary of Elaine’s disappearance. On its face it does not appear to have many similarities to Elisa’s. However, after delving into Elaine’s life, and disappearance, a little further I discovered the following:

Appearance and Age

At the time of both disappearances, Elisa and Elaine were very close to the same height and weight. Elaine was 5’6″ and weighed about 125 lbs.

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Elaine Park

Elisa was 5’6″ and weighed 121 lbs at the time an autopsy was performed after she was discovered in a water cistern on top of the then-named Cecil Hotel.

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Elisa Lam

Interests

Elisa and Elaine were both interested in fashion and pop culture.

Month they Disappeared

The last confirmed sighting of Elaine alive was the surveillance video reportedly taken the morning of January 28, 2018. Elisa stopped contacting her parents on either January 30 or January 31 of 2013.

Location

Elaine’s car was found approximately 49 miles from the Stay on Main Hotel (previously known as Cecil) in Los Angeles. Elaine’s boyfriend’s home was located in Calabasas (approximately 20 miles away from where Elaine’s Honda was found).

Depression

Elaine – like Elisa – was said to have struggled with depression. If what her boyfriend says is true about Elaine leaving his home after awakening from what he perceived as a panic attack, then she also may have experienced anxiety. Both are exceedingly common among men and women – particularly in the United States. However, many people feel reluctant to speak about their experiences due to concerns about being judged or stigmatized. Elaine’s mother is adamant that she does not believe her daughter committed suicide.

No Answers

Answers to the question of what happened to Elaine are elusive. Her mother continues to search for her daughter, and is tormented by the mere possibilities of what may have happened to her. Even though it seems unlikely Elaine’s disappearance is in any way linked to Elisa’s, I wanted to write about it anyway – if for no other reason than to potentially spark a small amount of awareness about the mystery of what happened to Elaine.

 

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Who is Elisa Lam?

Who is Elisa?

9znkx0389z4jElisa Lam was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on April 30th of 1991. Prior to taking her last trip to the United States in January of 2013, she lived with her parents – David and Yinna Lam. Elisa had one sister named Sarah. The two shared a common interest in fashion.

Elisa’s parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. They owned and operated Paul’s Restaurant in Burnaby. The restaurant specialized in home style Canadian and Chinese food.

Elisa had many interests, including blogging, reading, psychology, comedy, movies, traveling, gaming, and spending time with those she felt closest too. Some of her favorite shows included the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Downton Abbey – just to name a few. She really liked the movie Drive directed by Nicholas Winding Refn. One of her favorite books was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Elisa had an ongoing tendency to retreat into herself when she felt sad, anxious, or afraid. When she did manage to spend quality time with others the interactions often left her feeling optimistic and positive about the future. There were exceptions to this, but for the most part Elisa did genuinely want to connect with people around her.

Though she was not enrolled in classes at the time of her death, Elisa had previously been attending the University of British Columbia. She was not registered for classes when she traveled to California in 2013. At the time of her death, Elisa was trying to figure out what to do with her life. She was at a standstill and struggling with depression.

In high school, Elisa excelled academically. This was a source of anxiety for her once she began attending university because she had become accustomed to holding herself to a high standard. She often compared her progress with that of her peers, and over time became concerned that she was falling too far behind them. She seemed uncertain about what she wanted to do with her life as far as a long-term career, and this may have contributed to the difficulty she experienced when trying to keep up with classes through attendance and the completion of coursework. Even though she seemed to lack certainty in this area of her life, she frequently expressed a strong desire to figure out what to do with her life and find her place in the world.

Before she died, Elisa recorded many of her thoughts and feelings on her blogspot and tumblr pages. Her writing reflects her contemplative, and often witty, personality. Elisa was a self-described introvert. She loved to observe other people and dig below the surface of people and situations to find deeper truths about the world around her. She valued authenticity in herself and in others, but found it hard to find people that shared her strong desire to move beyond superficial relationships. She wanted to truly understand others and also be understood in return.

On some of her social media sites, where it was possible for her to post her thoughts, feelings, and interests anonymously, Elisa was candid about the ups and downs she experienced on a day-to-day basis. This honesty is something that has drawn a lot of people going through similar difficulties to her story.

Because of some of the bizarre details of her disappearance and death, it has been easy for many to lose site of the fact that Elisa was a living and breathing person. Her life was, and still remains, similar in many ways to the lives of countless other young adults. While Elisa’s disappearance and death are intriguing due to being shrouded in mystery, it was her life that held the most meaning. This is one of many reasons why it is important to get to the bottom of what happened to her.