A US public defender who died this month while celebrating his first wedding anniversary in Mexico “was the victim of a brutal crime,” his family said, noting a coroner’s liaison told them the case had been sent to a local prosecutor “to conduct a possible murder. investigation.”
Elliot Blair, 33, a deputy public defender in Orange County, California, died of “severe head trauma,” the contact said, citing an autopsy, according to a family statement from their attorney, David Scarsone.
Blair was found dead Saturday at the Las Rocas Resort in Rosarito Beach — a 45-mile drive south of San Diego — where he and his wife, Kim, were staying.
The Baja California Attorney General’s office said the death appeared to be the result of “an unfortunate accident involving the now-deceased’s fall from a third floor,” according to its statement to the Orange County Register.
The agency did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Rosarito Beach police did not immediately answer CNN’s calls.
Blair’s family has had no contact with Mexican police about his death, they said.
“The family, who have extensive legal training in criminal justice, sincerely believe, based on their initial investigation, that Elliot was the victim of a brutal crime,” the statement read.
While Blair’s relatives provide no specific evidence of a crime, they dispute that his death occurred from the balcony of the couple’s resort room, saying it happened outside the room’s front door in an open-air walkway, according to the statement.
“Elliot was not intoxicated at the time of this incident,” the family said, adding that they had told the coroner’s contact that they would hire a private company to conduct an independent investigation, including toxicology. The contact had told them a toxicology report had not been completed, they said.
The family opposes the cremation of Blair’s body, they said, noting that in discussions with a funeral home they have been told several times that authorities have recommended that process.
A colleague has organized a fundraiser in honor of Blair’s memory to help Blair’s wife with the “cumbersome process involved in transporting Elliot’s body from Mexico to the US and handling all the red tape,” reads the donation page that was founded by Annie Rodriguez. , whom CNN has contacted.
“We wish we could give everyone more information, but the authorities in Mexico have released very limited information,” it read.
Elliot and Kim had been in the Orange County public defender’s office since 2017, the page said.
“Elliot was known for a smile on his face and a bright mind,” the site reads. “There are not enough words to express how much love he had for Kim. Kim was his life. They have just started building a life together in their first year of marriage.”
Orange County Public Defender Martin Schwarz referred CNN to Scarsone.