Orange County public defender, Elliot Blair, was found dead at Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito, Mexico while vacationing on Saturday, January 14.
Blair was celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary with his wife, fellow public defender Kimberly Williams when the 33-year-old lawyer fell four stories while intoxicated. However, the family and colleagues of the deceased immediately disagreed with public reports.
Williams reports that authorities initially informed her that her husband suffered a gunshot wound to the head. According to a later statement from Baja California Attorney General, Ricardo Ivan Carpio Sanchez, an autopsy conducted by the Forensic Medical Service showed that Blair died of a traumatic brain injury.
A toxicology report conducted by Mexican authorities has since not been released, and family members remain confused about the circumstances of Blair’s death. Mexican authorities claimed that the 33-year-old’s blood alcohol level was high. Family spokesperson Case Barnett told the New York Post, “I don’t know how they got that information because no one has spoken to the family.”
However, the family sought an independent investigator after feeling that Mexican authorities and their response lacked clarity.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances, Blair’s family attempted to have an independent toxicology report conducted. Case Barnett told ABC7 that “before they could do that, the DA ordered the body to be embalmed and it had been.” Mexican authorities insisted that the family have Blair’s body cremated, which the family refused.
A liaison with the coroner’s office referred Blair’s death to the district attorney as a potential homicide. However, Carpio Sanchez suggests that after having a few drinks Williams returned to his room where he stepped outside to shoo birds away.
Carpio Sanchez claims that the Mexican authorities considered every possibility, searching the hotel room and finding no signs of foul play. He initially treated the death as a crime, remarking that the case received “its due treatment” according to the LA Times.
Despite the red tape surrounding Blair’s death, loved ones have many unanswered questions. The investigation remains unclear because police did not take statements from other hotel occupants, Blair fell from a height that most could survive, and paramedics described Blair’s head injury as a “penetration” on call transcripts.
“The family, which has extensive legal training in criminal law, wholeheartedly believes based on their initial investigation, that Elliot was the victim of a brutal crime,” David Scarsone told KTLA.
Blair’s body remains at a funeral home in Mexico.
Although reports conflict, Mexican and U.S. officials continue to investigate the case.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by colleague Annie Rodriguez to assist Elliot’s family with expenses related to Blair’s transportation back to the U.S. and investigational costs.
Laura Kichler is a City News Intern for the winter 2023 quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org