The California attorney who was killed in Mexico while traveling with his wife to celebrate their first wedding anniversary died as a result of an “unfortunate accident,” authorities have ruled, despite allegations of criminality by his family.
Orange County Assistant Public Defender Elliot Blair, 33, died Saturday in Rosarito Beach on the Baja California peninsula, just south of the northern US border in Tijuana, according to the defender. county public, Martin Schwarz.
His family and colleagues claimed on a GoFundMe page that the young lawyer “was the victim of a brutal crime.”
However, the Baja California Attorney General’s Office ruled after an autopsy that Blair’s death appeared to be the “result of an unfortunate accident involving the now deceased falling from a third story,” the Orange County Register reported.
Blair and his wife, Kim, also a public defender, were staying at the luxurious Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito, about 40 miles south of San Diego, when he died.
Mexican authorities said in a brief statement cited by the Registry that the investigation is ongoing and that they are in contact with the US Department of Justice and the FBI.
David Scarsone, a lawyer for the family, expressed skepticism that Blair simply fell from the third-floor balcony and said he would conduct a separate investigation.
“There are many unanswered questions. (The family) is rejecting that conclusion (by the Mexican authorities),” Scarsone told the newspaper.
Local authorities told the Red Code 646 Patrol news outlet that hotel workers called police around 1:15 a.m. after finding Blair’s body, the Register reported.
Investigators claimed to have found evidence that Blair was under the influence of alcohol at the time of her death, the outlet reported.
John Jenks, a private investigator who has worked with Blair, said it felt like a “gut to the stomach” when he found out about her death.
“He knew the law, he was well prepared, his presentation in the courtroom was outstanding, down to earth, relatable, and he knew the cases inside and out,” Jenks told NBC Los Angeles.
“I have no words to express how bad I feel for his colleagues, for his wife, for his family,” he said, adding that regardless of how Blair died, the loss is “heartbreaking.”
Jenks lamented the “good, caring, compassionate man who really played an important role in the lives of the people he represented.”
The fundraiser said the couple “have been dedicated public defenders in Orange County” since 2017, the year Elliot passed the bar exam.
“Elliot was known as a patient and supportive advocate. He was the best of us and was loved by countless members of our office and the Orange County legal community. We are heartbroken,” the post read.
“Elliot was known for a smile on his face and a clever mind. There aren’t enough words to express the level of love he had for Kim. Kim was the life of him,” he continued.
“They began building a life together in their first year of marriage. Elliot was murdered on their first wedding anniversary. Kim’s heart is broken,” the GoFundMe page added.