California public defender died in ‘brutal crime’ on birthday trip to Mexico, family says

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The family of a California public defender who died while celebrating his wedding anniversary in Mexico believes he was the victim of a “brutal crime”, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Elliot Blair, 33, died Saturday outside his hotel room at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach, about 32 miles south of San Diego, attorney David Scarsone said in a statement.

The incident took place on an outdoor walkway on the third floor of the resort, he said. Blair was found in his underwear and socks and a nightshirt outside a bedroom where he and his wife had stayed in the past, the attorney’s statement said.

Blair’s family did not learn of his death directly from local authorities; instead, they learned about what happened through a “call” with the local coroner’s office, the attorney’s statement said.

The contact, who was not named in the release, told the family that Blair died of severe head trauma and that his case has been referred to prosecutors for a possible homicide investigation, the statement said.

Rosarito Beach Mayor Hilda Araceli Brown Figueredo did not respond to a request for comment. A Las Rocas Resort spokeswoman said the hotel is working closely with local authorities and declined to comment further.

In a statement provided Wednesday to NBC News by the resort’s public relations firm, the attorney general of Baja California said an investigation showed that Blair appeared to have fallen from the third floor shortly before 1 am. He had no vital signs when police and medical staff found him. , says the statement.

The autopsy showed that his injuries were most likely caused by a fall and not an act of violence, the statement said. An investigation found no evidence of violence in the room where Blair and his wife were staying, the statement said.

The autopsy found signs of alcohol, the statement said. Scarsone said Blair was not intoxicated and a toxicology report had not been completed.

Scarsone did not immediately respond to a request late on Wednesday for comment on the statement.

The Mexican authorities had been communicating with American officials who, “since the first day, received all the information so that, in turn, through them, efforts can be made to inform and help the relatives of the deceased lawyer,” said the prosecutor. -general says.

The US State Department said it was aware of reports of a citizen’s death in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

“We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday. “Out of respect for the family at this difficult time, we have no further comment.”

Blair’s family plans to conduct an independent investigation by hiring a private investigator and a forensic pathologist, Scarsone said.

“Elliot was a brilliant attorney with a bright future,” the statement 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.”

Orange County public defender Martin Schwarz told The Register that Blair had worked for the public defender since 2017, the year he passed the bar exam. His wife, Kimberly, also worked for the public defender, Schwarz told the paper.

He said Blair was a “dedicated husband, incredible person and a fantastic attorney who dedicated his life to serving his clients and helping the county’s most vulnerable.”

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