In 2013, Mexican heavy metal musician Pablo Vergara’s life was changed forever with the death of a young woman he had never met before.
The four-part Netflix true-crime docuseries Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel chronicles the mysterious case of 21-year-old Elisa Lam. The Canadian resident went missing at a downtown Los Angeles hotel only to be found dead nearly three weeks later inside a water tank on the hotel roof.
The case received international attention because of the number of uncanny details that arose during the investigation, including security camera footage of Lam acting very strange on an elevator the night of her disappearance and the fact that the Cecil Hotel had a long history of violence and death.
Vergara’s life intersected with Lam’s death when internet sleuths obsessed with the case found a video of the musician, who went by the alias Morbid, staying at the Cecil Hotel a year prior. As they dug into Vergara’s grim online persona, they found a trove of dark music videos he had produced.
One of his song’s lyrics described the drowning of a young girl. Although Vergara was in Mexico at the time of Lam’s disappearance, the song and the other gruesome images he posted were all people on the internet needed to accuse Vergara of murder.
Police cleared him of having anything to do with the disappearance or death of Lam, but the damage had already been done. In the film, Vergara talks about the stressful experience, which drove him to attempt suicide and quit the music business.
“No matter how strong you are, you feel powerless,” Vergara says in the film. “The web sleuths go on with their life like nothing happened. It’s gonna be there for the rest of my life.”