Mexican authorities say California public defender found dead under balcony died in ‘accident’

Mexican authorities say California public defender found dead under balcony during trip to celebrate his first wedding anniversary died in an ‘unfortunate accident’ but family’s lawyer says they still have ‘many unanswered questions’

  • Elliot Blair, 33, from Orange, was discovered early Saturday in Rosarito Beach
  • He was found below a third-floor balcony at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa 
  • Officials said Blair’s death appeared to be the result of an accidental fall 
  • Family and colleagues said he was ‘tragically killed’ in a ‘brutal crime’
  • An attorney for Blair’s family said they will conduct their own investigation

The death of an Orange County deputy public defender at a Mexican beach resort last weekend appeared to be an ‘unfortunate accident,’ authorities in Baja California said on Monday.

Elliot Blair, 33, from Orange, was discovered early Saturday below a third-floor balcony at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach. Family and colleagues said on a GoFundMe page that Blair was ‘tragically killed’ and died due to a ‘brutal crime‘.

However, after an autopsy, officials at Baja California’s Attorney General’s Office said Blair’s death appeared to be the ‘result of an unfortunate accident from a fall by the now deceased from a third-story floor’.

In a brief statement, Mexican authorities said they are investigating his death and are in contact with American authorities through the US Justice Department and the FBI, which in turn is informing Blair’s family.

Elliot Blair (pictured), 33, from Orange, was discovered early Saturday below a third-floor balcony at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach

Elliot Blair (pictured), 33, from Orange, was discovered early Saturday below a third-floor balcony at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach

Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams, who is also a deputy public defender, were at the resort for their one-year wedding anniversary

Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams, who is also a deputy public defender, were at the resort for their one-year wedding anniversary

Pictured: the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach

Pictured: the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach

David Scarsone, an attorney for Blair’s family, said they continue to have doubts that he just fell off the balcony and will conduct their own investigation.

‘There are many unanswered questions,’ Scarsone said. ‘[The family] is pushing back on that conclusion [by Mexican authorities].’

Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams, who is also a deputy public defender, were at the resort for their one-year wedding anniversary.

At around 1.15am on January 14 authorities were notified that Blair fell from the balcony of Hotel Las Rocas in the town of Rosarito, just south of Tijuana and off the Tijuana-Ensenada highway.

Pictured: Elliot Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams. Family and colleagues said on a GoFundMe page that Blair was 'tragically killed' and died due to a 'brutal crime'

Pictured: Elliot Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams. Family and colleagues said on a GoFundMe page that Blair was ‘tragically killed’ and died due to a ‘brutal crime’

Pictured: the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach. After an autopsy, officials at Baja California's Attorney General's Office said Blair's death appeared to be the 'result of an unfortunate accident from a fall by the now deceased from a third-story floor'

Pictured: the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach. After an autopsy, officials at Baja California’s Attorney General’s Office said Blair’s death appeared to be the ‘result of an unfortunate accident from a fall by the now deceased from a third-story floor’

Pictured: Blair's wedding. In a brief statement, Mexican authorities said they are investigating his death and are in contact with American authorities through the US Justice Department and the FBI, which in turn is informing Blair's family

Pictured: Blair’s wedding. In a brief statement, Mexican authorities said they are investigating his death and are in contact with American authorities through the US Justice Department and the FBI, which in turn is informing Blair’s family

Local news site Patrulla 646 Código Rojo reported that hotel staff notified authorities of the accident and that when police arrived, Blair was lying face down and unconscious. It was said that when paramedics arrived he was found to be dead.

Local outlet the Register said investigators claimed to have found evidence that Blair was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his death.

Staff from the state attorney general’s office dealt with the removal of the body and were conducting an investigation.

A Facebook page dedicated to sharing news from the Rosarito area, Rosarito en la Noticia, shared an account of what happened and noted that information was being withheld by local authorities and cited reporting in Californian newspaper The Orange County Register.

The first suggestion that Blair was murdered seems to have been published by The OC Register on Saturday afternoon. The claim in not attributed but reporters spoke with Orange County Public Defender Martin Schwarz.

Schwarz told the outlet: ‘We have been in communication with the family and are doing what we can to support them in this difficult time, including working with local and federal officials to help provide them with answers.’

At around 1.15am on January 14 authorities were notified that Blair fell from the balcony of Hotel Las Rocas (pictured)  in the town of Rosarito, just south of Tijuana and off the Tijuana-Ensenada highway

At around 1.15am on January 14 authorities were notified that Blair fell from the balcony of Hotel Las Rocas (pictured)  in the town of Rosarito, just south of Tijuana and off the Tijuana-Ensenada highway 

'Elliot was known for a smile on his face and a clever mind. There are not enough words to express the level of love he had for Kim. Kim was his life,' said the GoFundMe page set up in Blair's memory

‘Elliot was known for a smile on his face and a clever mind. There are not enough words to express the level of love he had for Kim. Kim was his life,’ said the GoFundMe page set up in Blair’s memory

On Blair's relationship, the GoFundMe page added: 'They just started building a life together in their first year of marriage. Elliot was killed on their one-year wedding anniversary. Kim's heart is shattered'

On Blair’s relationship, the GoFundMe page added: ‘They just started building a life together in their first year of marriage. Elliot was killed on their one-year wedding anniversary. Kim’s heart is shattered’

‘Here in Rosarito, the information was not released,’ wrote the author of the Rosarito en la Noticia post.

‘An employee of the hotel reported the unfortunate event to the authorities, who took it upon themselves to hide information,’ they wrote in Spanish.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in Blair’s memory. As of Tuesday, it has generated more than $101,000 in donations.

Funds raised will go towards helping Kimberly transport Elliot’s body from Mexico to the USA and deal with all the red tape, the organizer said. 

Blair was ‘a compassionate lawyer who dedicated his life to serving indigent clients,’ the GofundMe page said. 

‘Elliot was known as a patient and caring 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 added: ‘Elliot was known for a smile on his face and a clever mind. There are not enough words to express the level of love he had for Kim. Kim was his life.

‘They just started building a life together in their first year of marriage. Elliot was killed on their one-year wedding anniversary. Kim’s heart is shattered.’

The account said that Blair would now be with his father, Tom, who died two years ago.

‘Elliot and Tom were thick as thieves,’ it said. ‘They spent countless hours together in the garage working on cars, dirt bikes, and dune buggies.’

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