Jack Unterweger: Guest of the Cecil Hotel
With the recent Netflix documentary, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, public interest has risen yet again at this chilling landmark. The documentary focuses on the case of Elisa Lam, but it does mention some of the other horrific events in the history of the hotel. The story that fascinates me is the story of Jack Unterweger.
At the Cecil Hotel
In 1991, Jack Unterweger checked into the notorious Cecil Hotel. Some theorize that he chose the Cecil Hotel based upon his admiration for the other serial killer Robert Ramirez, the Night Stalker, who had supposedly spent time there as well (although I did not find evidence to back that up). Jack was an Austrian journalist who was doing some reporting on the red-light districts in the United States. At that time, the Cecil Hotel was right in the middle of Skid Row, an area known for prostitution, drugs, and other criminal activities. Unterweger spent time on the streets interviewing people for his stories. It is said that he was seen with several prostitutes and their pimps, even possibly inviting them to his room. He even arranged several ride alongs with the LA police to learn more about the area where he was staying. During this time he also arranged interviews with other Austrian figures that were now making their homes in the United States. He even tried to pitch his autobiography to a film-maker for a movie deal.
Unterweger’s autobiography had already made him famous in his native Austria. Jack Unterweger‘s mother was a sex worker. His father was an unknown American soldier named Jack. His mother was in and out of prison throughout most of his life. When she wasn’t around, Jack grew up with his alcoholic grandfather who would beat the boy severely. He would also expect Jack to help him steal. Jack followed his mother’s footsteps and was in jail several times before he even reached adulthood.
In 1976, Jack was convicted of murdering a young girl by strangling her with her own bra. He was convicted to life in prison. Jack spent his time in jail learning how to write. He wrote a collection of poetry, short stories…