Knowing now what they didn't know then about the water is sickening, Michael Baugh said. "It makes you feel literally physically sick, but more than that you feel it psychologically. You think about it and it's not good."
Eventually, the hotel maintenance department investigated the water problem, sending a worker to look into the tank, police said. He saw Lam's lifeless body at the bottom.
A hard-working family
Randy Schmidt, a spokesman for the University of British Columbia, said Lam was registered in a class in August, but was not registered in any classes this year, according to records.
"Unfortunately, we do not have much more to say, other than to extend our deepest sympathies to the family," said Schmidt.
According to Los Angeles police, Lam tended to use public transportation.
Teika Steins, manager of a hostel in Toronto, Canada, said Lam stayed a week there in early December. Steins called the young woman friendly and outgoing.
Flowers and signs were left Thursday outside the temporarily-closed Lam family restaurant in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Tanya Grohmann, who works nearby, said she was saddened by the loss and the fact the family did not know what happened to the young woman.
"They are a hard-working family. They immigrated here," she told CNN affiliate CTV. "They've been in the neighborhood for nine years working. ... They're honest people."
Why did hotel stay open after discovery?
New guests continued to check into the Cecil in the hours after firefighters removed Lam's body from the water tank. But each guest was asked to sign a waiver releasing the hotel from liability if they become ill. "You do so at your own risk and peril," the hotel's release said. Guests who already paid for their rooms would not get refunds if they move out, it said.
CNN's repeated calls to the hotel for comment were unreturned Wednesday and Thursday.
The Los Angeles Public Health Department immediately tested the water supply, but told the manager they could stay open as long as they provided bottle water and warned guests not to drink the tap water.
The results of the testing showed no harmful bacteria in the tank or the pipes, according to Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health for the department. Chlorine in the city's water may be the reason it is safe, he said.
All of the tanks and pipes in the building still must be drained, flushed and sanitized, Bellomo said. The water will be retested after that process, which should take several days, he said.
Several guests interviewed by CNN on Wednesday indicated the hotel management did not tell them about the body in the water supply they had been drinking and bathing in.
Qui Nguyen learned about it from a CNN reporter Wednesday morning. He decided not to sign the waiver and instead find a new hotel.
Many of its guests are tourists from other countries drawn by the hotel's billing as a "European-style" hotel that is the perfect accommodation for "spend-thrifty travelers."
But if they take Kim Cooper's tour bus ride through the neighborhood, they would hear about the Cecil being the former temporary home to at least two convicted murderers, including "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez. Ramirez paid $14 a day to stay on the 14th floor during his 1980s killing spree, Cooper said.