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Elliot Blair, California public defender who died in Mexico, was "victim of a brutal crime," family says – CBS News

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January 18, 2023 / 6:55 AM / CBS News
A family is searching for answers after a Southern California public defender died in Mexico over the weekend while celebrating his first wedding anniversary, CBS Los Angeles reports
Elliot Blair, 33, died at his hotel in Rosarito, Baja Mexico on Saturday.
The circumstances surrounding Blair’s death still remain unclear, as Mexican authorities have yet to disclose many details to this point. 
His family says the Orange County lawyer was killed, contrary to what Mexican officials have claimed thus far. They allege that Blair died in a “tragic accident” at the Las Rocas Resort. 
“The family of Elliot Blair is absolutely reeling from the tragic death of this amazing young man who was in Rosarito Beach celebrating his first wedding anniversary,” the family said in a statement. “The family, which has extensive legal training in criminal law, wholeheartedly believes based on their initial investigation, that Elliot was the victim of a brutal crime.”
They are not alone in believing that Blair was killed during the trip.
“I personally don’t put a lot of credence in what the Mexican authorities say,” John Jenks, private investigator and business partner of Blair’s, told CBS Los Angeles. “The article I read said that he died of a tragic accident and my question is what evidence do you base that conclusion on?”
As his family works with the United States officials to learn more, Tijuana-based media has reported that the Baja California Prosecutor’s Office ruled that Blair died of head trauma from falling off his hotel balcony. 
One local outlet reported that Blair fell from the fourth floor of the hotel and may have been “under the influence of alcohol.”  In their statement, the family says he “was not intoxicated at the time of this incident” and “the incident did not occur off their room’s private balcony, nor any balcony, for that matter.”
The Blair family maintains that there was foul play involved, stating that no one from the Rosarito Beach Police Department or the Mexican government has reached out to speak to them. 
“He was the victim of a brutal crime,” says a GoFundMe set up for Blair’s wife, Kim, who is also a public defender.  “All donated funds will be used by Kim and Elliot’s family in their search for answers and to help Kim with any personal finances as she grieves her Elliot.”
Read the Blair family’s full statement here:
“The family of Elliot Blair is absolutely reeling from the tragic death of this amazing young man who was in Rosarito Beach celebrating his first wedding anniversary. The family, which has extensive legal training in criminal law, wholeheartedly believes based on their initial investigation, that Elliot was the victim of a brutal crime. We are sorry that it has taken so long to release a statement, as the family was hopeful of promised information by the Mexican authorities. However, it appears that information isn’t going to be directly disseminated to the family.
The family is devastated that since this incident, no one from the Rosarito Beach Police Department, their district attorney’s office, or any other Mexican officials have reached out and spoken to them directly.
The only communication that the family has received has been through a liaison to the coroner’s office. Yesterday, January 16, at approximately 2:00 pm the liaison indicated that he had been in direct contact with the medical examiner’s office that performed an autopsy. The liaison indicated that the cause of death was severe head trauma and that the case had been forwarded to the district attorney’s office to conduct a possible homicide investigation. The liaison also advised that as of that time, the toxicology report had not been completed.
The family informed the liaison that they would be conducting their own independent investigation, specifically hiring a private investigation firm, retaining an independent forensic pathologist to conduct a medical examination, including their own toxicology analysis.
Throughout this entire process, it has been suggested by the Mexican authorities that Elliot’s body be cremated. Yesterday, during a conversation with the funeral home liaison, it was again suggested he be cremated and the family insisted his body not be cremated in order to conduct a thorough, complete, independent investigation.
Within just hours of this conversation, the family independently came across a news article that quoted “Mexican officials” stating that this appeared to be an “unfortunate accident.* These “Mexican officials” still have not reached out to the family with this information.
In addition, it is highly unfortunate that throughout this entire devastating ordeal, Kim, his loving wife, has been given multiple versions of what happened to Elliot. The only real facts that are known are this: 
a. Elliot and Kim had stayed at Las Rocas Resort and Spa on multiple occasions in the past 5 years.
b. Elliot was a fluent Spanish-speaker.
c. Additionally, Elliot and Kim had stayed in this specific room on the third floor on multiple occasions.
d. Elliot was very familiar with the layout of Las Rocas Resort and Spa, as well as its hallways and walkways.
e. The incident did not occur off their room’s private balcony, nor any balcony, for that matter.
f . The incident occurred in an open-air walkway located outside the front door of their room at Las Rocas Resort and Spa.
g. Elliot was not intoxicated at the time of this incident.
h. Elliot was found in his underwear, his sleeping tee shirt, and socks.
i. Little to no investigation into the circumstances into Elliot’s death was conducted by the Rosarito Beach Police Department.
j. Due to the insufficiency of the investigation, the family feels compelled to conduct their own private investigation in search for the truth.
Elliot was a brilliant attorney with a bright future. Elliot’s smile was radiant and warmed the hearts of every person he came in 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, untimely, and suspicious death has left his family and community with a huge hole in their hearts that will never be repaired.”
First published on January 18, 2023 / 6:55 AM
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