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UPDATE: Woman Found Dead In Lake Elsinore Motel Pool

The death of Nicole Lambert Cruz, 26, is under investigation.

Click here for update.

A woman was found dead in the swimming pool on Thanksgiving.

Nicole Lambert Cruz, 26, was found dead in the lodge’s pool yesterday, according to her mother, Donna Lambert.

The woman was living with her grandfather in Murrieta when she went missing November 19, Lambert said.

“She left for a walk and never came back,” Lambert said.

A Travel Inn associate who would not give her name said she could not discuss the matter and referred Patch to police.

At press time, Riverside County Sheriff's Department could only confirm that the woman was found dead in the pool and the cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy and toxicology report. The call to police came in yesterday at 11:55 a.m.

Travel Inn is located at 31610 Auto Center Dr.

The Lambert family was in the media spotlight prior to Thanksgiving.

Donna Lambert’s elderly father Don, who Nicole lived with, had been a fixture at Murrieta City Hall where he regularly advocated on behalf of medical marijuana patients. Don took up the cause after his daughter Donna was arrested in 2009 for marijuana possession in San Diego County.

Her case garnered significant media attention. She was accused of providing cannabis to an undercover police detective who posed as a medical marijuana patient. The sting was part of a larger investigation dubbed Operation Green Rx led by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

In 2010, however, felony charges against Donna Lambert were dismissed.

Rob November 26, 2011 at 02:41 AM
I believe this is the 2nd death at this hotel in the past 6 months or so.
Paul November 26, 2011 at 10:04 AM
Yes, San Diego County did charge Donna with seven felony counts for twice helping another person obtain only a fraction of an ounce of medical marijuana, after personally checking the name on his driver license and confirming with the doctor that he indeed did issue the MMJ recommendation to this person. What the public does not even now realize is that if you called any high level MMJ attorney in the state at that time they said they was a ZERO chance of getting a fair trial in San Diego County. You would have to pay $25,000 to $35,000 for a trial knowing you would loose and then have to appeal to a higher court, where you would have chance to win. The public defenders were not into defending MMJ and had no training on the subject. Donna and others having ill health or serious injuries made protest signs and were often seen down at the courthouse and at other rallies with their signs. They also made web sites, Facebook pages, wrote blogs, and talked at city council meetings. Donna and others were interviewed on San Diego TV news programs and Los Angeles radio stations, and Donna was quoted several times in the Washington Post. All this was a serious strain on Donna facing trial and having various court hearings month after month. Most of the others charged took plea bargains.
Paul Jacobs November 27, 2011 at 12:31 AM
I know several people that would probably be dead if not for medical cannabis that helps them maintain weight and get through chemo while reducing their need for narcotic pain relievers. This young woman is dead due to the criminalization of a plant Californians voted to approve for medical use. Justice? Liberty? Condolences to Don and the family of this young woman.
Jay November 27, 2011 at 12:37 AM
All the public needs to now realize, is that marijuana, no matter what you qualify it as, is a federaly controled substance. It is a federal crime to use, sell or have on your person any amount of marijuana. The laws in californa regarding medical merijuana are nul and void because federal law always supperseeds state and local law
Stormy November 27, 2011 at 12:46 AM
This Hotel is ran by the County...they give out 30 vouchers to those that are homeless or just out of jail and have no where to go. The entire Hotel is full of misfits and people with issues that have no place to be. So if I am understanding this correctly this Lady ended up drowning in the pool because of pressure of a court battle over medical marijuana, or was it lack of being able to obtain her medical marijuana? How can one be charged with Federal possession when you can get a medical marijuana card from just about any Doctor, the Doctors advertise that they issue these cards for a discounted fee in the Local Valley Newspaper. So was it that Donna was selling pot illegally?? I'm confused.
Paul November 27, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Lets clarify. I have met Nicole, her mother Donna, Nicoles grandfather Donald. I have previously met the writer Toni. 1. Nicole just died on Thanksgiving day. She was found floating in the pool about noon. She is a very good swimmer. She was not dressed for swimming, She was not staying at that Motel. 2. Marijuana was not involved in Nicoles death, neither buying, using, or selling. 3. There are homeless persons camped all along the river there. Some are nice people but many are persons with serious behavior and/or mental problems and/or addictions to drugs or alcohol. 4. Some of those camping there are also wanted persons on various felonies elsewhere, and some have committed acts of violence on others.. --------------------- Donna Lambert became a medical marrijuana activist during her chemo treatment wher MMJ helped and its use was suggested by her regular chemo as his pharmacy drugs were too harse on other members of her body. She got the wrtitten "recommendation" from a doctor that does that. More about Donna is mentioned in the article and my earlier comment at 2:04 AM Nov 26. Donna has also disclosed publically that she has four other serious medical problems that MMJ is also good for according to the doctors pharmacopedia book that was in use prior to big pharma lobbying congress to vote to make MJ illegal so that big Pharma could make billions every year on their pattened medicine. Donald Lambert is Donna's father. He has never used MMJ, tobacco or alcohol.
Diana November 27, 2011 at 02:50 AM
I don't think that MMJ has anything to do with Nicoles death or Donna or Donald, this Lady was in the wrong place at the wrong time and this happened. Sp sorry for the families loss I hope that they find out what really happened, so much tragedy in LE, for a town of just 50,000 we sure do have more then our share of crime, death and drama............so sad!!!
Paul November 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM
I agree with Toni's comment that "Don took up the cause after his daughter Donna was arrested in 2009 for marijuana possession in San Diego County". Donald Lambert has never been involved with marijuani until after his daughter was arrested and charged with seven felonies, to help her own multiple very serious medical condition and to help a few others with theirs. He tells me that he over the past 70 years of marijuana prohibition until January 2009 after his daughter was arrested he assumed that its use made people into hippies, or clobered the space between brain cells with dark matter as its opponents stated. But after his daughter was arrested he read up on the current medical research and the confusing law situation. He was appalled at the injustice of the way his daughter and hundreds of others around the state were pursecuted and prosecuted in some juisdictions while in the next county anyone with a recommendation could have three pounds of marijuana on hand. He also was amazed that many top medical researchers in the US and abroad were reporting on its usefulness as medicine for a variety of ailments. and were asking the DEA to remove it from its clasification as a dangerous drug with no medical benefit. I think he hopes to convince the city council that it is true. The council members have also lived their entire lives in a state of being incorrectly taught. It is past time for them to aid and not hinder this medical use by patients that can benefit from it.
Bobbie Bailey November 27, 2011 at 09:24 PM
THANK YOU DIANA, FOR STATING THIS IS ABOUT NICOLE'S DEATH. WHY BRING HER MOM'S ISSUES INTO HER DEATH. I SEE NO POINT. I CAN ONLY PRAY LAW ENFORCEMENT IS ABLE TO FIND THE PERSON RESPONSABLE FOR HER DEATH, AND THEY BE PUNISHED. NOTHING WILL BRING NICOLE BACK. NO MATTER WHAT OPINION ANYONE MAY HAVE OF DONNA, PLEASE REMEMBER, SHE IS A MOTHER WHO HAS HAD HER ONLY CHILD TAKEN FROM HER. I EXPECT TO BE BLASTED FOR USING CAPS, I HAVE VERY POOR EYE SIGHT. IN NO WAY AM I "SHOUTING" AT ANYONE. SADLY SOME FEEL THE NEED TO PUT DOWN THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS. I GUESS IT MAKES THEM FEEL BETTER THAN OTHERS. MY PRAYER IS THAT DONNA MAY HAVE ANSWERS AND CLOSURE.
Donna Kush Lambert November 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Nicole Lambert was, or is my daughter. I love her more than life itself. She was only 26 years old and should not have her life ended like this. I was on chemotherapy and the doctor recommended marijuana for the side effects as a better alternative to the potential risks of the pain bills, sleeping pills, valium for tremors, nausea medications and others they had me on to try to control the side effects. All those can cause the breathing to stop and the doctor felt it a better choice. The marijuana did work, so I was growing it and I thought it was a good idea to help others. I did not know there was an explosive controversy about that issue prior to a swat style raid on my house. I chose to stand up in that controversy. Nicole did not even like the effect of marijuana and her death is not related to the medical marijuana issue. All I know is that I love her and I am in shock. She was beautiful and sweet and intelligent and should not have ended up dead at age 26 in a cold pool of water.
Larisa Bradshaw November 27, 2011 at 11:55 PM
I had the pleasure of meeting donna 24 years ago at which time Nicole and my daughter were both 2 years old. They were best friends. I am in shock over this tragic loss! I cannot believe that there are some people critizing Donna and her work in advocating medical marijuana while she is struggling with the loss of her only child!! All of the naysayers who are so against the use of marijuana as a natural alternative medicine need to stop and listen to some of the commercials on television nowadays about the side effects of these prescription drugs...MY GOD IN ALMOST ALL OF THEM THE SIDE EFFECTS ARE WORSE THAN THE SYMPTOMS!!! I do not see in any way shape or form how these issues should in any way be of any relevance to Nicole death. Please join me in expressing to Donna my deepest sympathys for her loss and keep the focus where it belongs, on justice for Nicole!!!
Unknown November 28, 2011 at 12:01 AM
You all are disgusting. This has nothing to do with marijuana. Positive or negative. Do not reply to this as I will never be logged in to this site again or see your response. Be ashamed, and stop trying to campaign for your cause using someone's death.
tiger weedz November 28, 2011 at 12:10 AM
I am 1 of Donnas' facebook friends & a fellow mmj patient/activist. In the west coast culture mmj is a grey area we have voted in respectable percentages that our govt. has no buisness in our doctors office. Federally Obummer has stated he wants it left up to the states to work this complex problem out. He has allowed federal agencies to attack any dispenseries adding to the grey market confusion. Even the Wash. state governer has stated she wants patients to grow their own. 8o% of most dispensaries that pop up are either ran crookedly & do things like knock all the trichomes off the buds to process them into hash & sell the buds to the next customer or they are ran by total incompetents. Patient complaints add to these raids, When this happens it is deserved. As to whether Donnas' wonderful daughters death had anything to do with her families connection to mmj that is highly doubtful & those spreading rumors should be ashamed of themselves this family is grieving an immense loss & all our thoughts & prayers should be with them.
Larisa Bradshaw November 28, 2011 at 12:19 AM
THE DEATH OF THIS SWEET YOUNG LADY AHD NOTHING TO DO WITH MARIJUANA, SHE DID NOT USE IT, BUY IT, SELL IT AND HER MOTHERS MEDICAL NEED HAD AND SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY BEARING ON THIS TRAGIC DEATH!!!!!
Paul November 28, 2011 at 03:09 AM
I was just looking at this article again and noticed several pictures of Nicole have been added to this article. There is one as a toddler, one as a teen, and one from several years ago. Patch picture strips can be clicked to large size, and then scrolled with litle arrows at the side of the large picture that do not show up until you move the mouse there.
Alexis Aby November 28, 2011 at 07:47 AM
I am Nicole's sister. I want to say thank you to those of you with kind words. To those of you who are trying to bring up MMJ as though it has anything to do with my sister's death: LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE. You have no idea what you are talking about. My sister had nothing to do with MMJ or my mother's case, and didn't even use marijuana. Not only that, but my mother's case has been over with for a while. My mother was very, very sick, and the treatment for her illness made her feel even more sick. After exploring all of her options, she found that MMJ was the only thing that kept the nausea in check enough for her to get out of bed and get some food down. When she began to get well again, she was kind enough to help others by sharing her experience of the true medicinal benefits of the plant. I am not going to talk anymore about the issue of MMJ itself other than to say it is much wiser to educate yourself on all sides of an issue before making ignorant, insensitive comments at the completely wrong time based on nothing but bias and assumption.
Alexis Aby November 28, 2011 at 07:51 AM
My mother and my family have been through quite enough. Please stop twisting this into some kind of tv show media drama that it isn't. Please stop even talking about MMJ. How would any of you like it if your child or sister happened to tragically be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and people immediately started posting comments about your problems with your boss? About how your boss stressed you out so the stress must have somehow caused your child's death? This is comparable to what you are doing, and it makes absolutely no sense. How would you like it if a bunch of strangers with nothing better to do caused you to think about unrelated stressful issues, when all you needed was time to come to grips with the loss of someone very close to you? Get a life and let my family grieve. I love you and miss you so much Nicole.
Kaytee Fournier November 28, 2011 at 02:12 PM
It is truly disgusting that anybody on either side of the MMJ debate would use this tragedy as arguing point or platform for political opinion. The ONLY legitimate reason to bring it up would be the possibility of foul play, and even THAT is best left to the investigators, not the public's various assumptions and/or accusations. My deepest condolences to the Lambert family. You have proven to be a strong and loving family, and I know that will help you all make it through this untimely and unfair loss. Don't let the bickering overshadow the joy Nicole brought to undoubtedly countless lives in her too-short 26 years. That would turn a horrible tragedy into a disgusting travesty, and Nicole's legacy is surely worth more than that! I hope they can determine what happened, and that that can give you all what little peace may be possible from all of this. In the meantime, keep reminding the world of the wonderful soul that it lost in losing Nicole. Honoring her and her memory is what is important, and will help you all to heal, in time. My prayers are with you.
Andria November 28, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Alexis, I am so sorry for your loss. This is so tragic! Your family is in my prayers. Andria
Paul November 29, 2011 at 07:50 AM
Replying to Kelly. The autopsy was scheduled for Today, Monday 11-28-2011. I think they routinely do an autopsy even if gun shots, stab wounds, and other truma are evident. There is a steel fence around the pool. The delay is because they work Monday to Friday. The investigators are countinuing to look for evidence. It is known they have talked with family members, motel employees, some homeless people nearby, and checking video security cameras.
Justin Hanover December 02, 2011 at 02:00 AM
To the family of Nicole I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you find out who has committed this heinous crime. May you get justice asap and your family is able to remember Nicole for who she was without the media or law invading your life. It oblivious your family loved her and to have to defend yourselves in this comment thread is just plain crazy. Love and peace and inner strength I wish for your family.
Maria Elisa Mahecha December 02, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Federal law does not always supercede "local" law. In most cases, State law is applicable. It is also arguable that in the case of Medical Cannabis, the Federal government has exceeded the powers granted to it by the Constitution. The power to regulate the practice of medicine resides with the States, not the Federal government. If you read the Constitution, which I am guessing you haven't, it is quite clear that MOST powers have been given to the States and NOT the Federal Government. Non-attorneys, such as yourself, should really stay clear of making inaccurate statements regarding the law because it leads to widespread misinformation. Leave the practice of law to those of us who are qualified. And seriously, learn how to spell.
Don Lambert December 03, 2011 at 09:52 AM
Nicole's family expresses our thanks for the kind words and prayers on our behalf. The memorial service is being held in San Diego where my granddaughter Nicole has lived for years prior to moving in with me in Murrieta about two months ago. Nicole's mother is Donna. Donna's sister has come from out of state to comfort and encourage her, Nicole's younger sister has come from out of state to express her love for Nicole and be with her mother. I intend to move some pictures of Nicole from her childhood and youth from the family and friends section of my Facebook into an album that will be open to everyone. Donna, a simgle parent, has been through a lot this past week dealing with all this and grieving, plus making arranging about Nicole and planning the Memorial Service, plus many hours hunting for clues that might help the investigators. Your continued prayers are appreciated.

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