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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.