The death of an Orange County public defender in the resort town of Baja California last week, which Mexican authorities called an “unfortunate accident,” the man’s family said in a statement, has raised many unanswered questions with little or no investigation by local police.
Elliott Blair, 33, died Saturday in Rosarito while staying at the Las Rocas Resort & Spa with his wife, Kimberly Williams, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, according to a statement from his family.
The account provided by the Mexican authorities leaves many questions unanswered, the Blair and Williams families said in a joint statement, adding that they will hire a private investigation firm and an independent forensic pathologist to conduct a medical examination and toxicology analysis.
“The family, which has extensive legal training in criminal law, sincerely believes based on its initial investigations that Elliott was the victim of a brutal crime,” the statement read.
Mexican authorities told the Orange County Register that Blair fell from a “third floor” and that his death was accidental. The Spanish magazine Noticias BC reported that a man of Blair’s description fell from a fourth-floor hotel room.
But Blair’s family says the incident took place in an open corridor outside the front door of his room. He was found wearing his underwear, nightgown and socks, according to his family’s statement. The family said Blair and Williams had vacationed at the Rosarito resort several times over the past five years and stayed in a room on the third floor.
Mexican authorities also told the Record that they are in contact with the US Department of Justice and the FBI, who share information with the Blair family.
But his family said no one from the Rosarito Beach Police Department or any other Mexican official contacted the family directly, according to the statement.
Attempts to reach the Baja California Attorney General’s office on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Blair has been working in the public defender’s office since 2017, the year he passed the bar exam, and has handled criminal cases out of the Santa Ana office.
“Elliott was a brilliant lawyer with a bright future,” the family said. Elliot’s smile was radiant and warmed the hearts of everyone he came into contact with. Elliot had an innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Elliot was a loving husband, son and brother. Elliot’s tragic death, both sudden and suspicious, left his family and community with a huge hole in their hearts It will never be fixed.”
The Blair and Williams families have only been in contact with a liaison officer through the coroner’s office who called them on Sunday afternoon. The liaison said that based on the medical examiner’s office, Blair died from blunt force trauma to the head, but that a toxicology report was not yet complete. The case was referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for a possible murder investigation, according to the statement.
Blair’s family said Mexican authorities had suggested Blair’s body be cremated. A funeral home liaison also made the same suggestion, but Blair’s family insists his body be preserved until they can conduct a thorough, independent investigation.
While the Blair family has not spoken to Mexican authorities, I did read in a news report quoting officials who claimed Blair’s death was an “unfortunate accident,” but officials have not yet spoken to the family.
Williams was told several versions of what happened to Blair. Their families say his body was not found under the balcony of the couple’s room or any other balcony at the resort, and that Blair was aware of the layout at the resort and spoke fluent Spanish.
Blair’s family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Times staff writer Alexandra Petri contributed to this report.