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Family Of California Lawyer Who Had Fatal Fall At Mexico Resort Believes He Was ‘Brutal Crime’ Victim
Elliot Blair, 33, was staying at Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito when the incident occurred. The family of the Orange County public defender believes that he was "the victim of a brutal crime."
The family of a California lawyer who died Saturday after a fall at a Mexican resort where he was celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary with his wife believes that he was "the victim of a brutal crime."
Elliot Blair, 33, was staying at Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito — just south of the Pacific Coast border city of Tijuana — when the incident occurred. Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams, have been public defenders in Orange County since 2017, according to a GoFundMe fundraiser set up for Williams.
According to a statement posted in a Tuesday update from the Blair and Williams families on the GoFundMe page, Blair's family "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," the statement continues. "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."
That statement adds that "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."
According to a translation of a story from Mexican news outlet Noticias B.C., a police report said a call came in to emergency services around 1 a.m. on Saturday after a man fell from the fourth floor of the hotel. When police arrived, they found a man wearing a sleep shirt, socks and underwear. He was lying face down and unconscious, according to the Noticias B.C report, which also stated that the man was treated at the scene but had no vital signs.
On Monday, authorities in Baja California, the Mexican state that includes the town of Rosarito, called Blair's death an “unfortunate accident,” according to The Orange County Register.
Officials at Baja California’s Attorney General’s Office said after an autopsy that Blair's death looked to be the “result of an unfortunate accident from a fall by the now deceased from a third-story floor," the Register reports.
The officials further said that they're investigating Blair’s death and are in touch with the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI.
In their Tuesday statement, The Blair and Williams family said: "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 added that they told the liaison that they'd be conducting an independent investigation by hiring a private firm and an independent forensic pathologist to conduct a medical examination, including toxicology.
"Throughout this entire process, it has been suggested by the Mexican authorities that Elliot's body be cremated," the family stated. "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."
The statement from Blair's loved ones also said that his wife "has been given multiple versions of what happened to Elliot."
They further added that the couple had stayed at Las Rocas Resort and Spa on several occasions over the past five years, including multiple times in the exact room on the third floor where they were staying during last weekend's incident.
"The incident did not occur off their room's private balcony, nor any balcony, for that matter," the statement reads. "The incident occurred in an open-air walkway located outside the front door of their room at Las Rocas Resort and Spa."
The family said that Blair was a fluent Spanish-speaker who was very familiar with the layout of the hotel, as well as its hallways and walkways, and they said that he wasn't intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The Orange County Register reported that a Mexican official reached Tuesday night said he could not comment on the family’s statements. He added that the toxicology report found alcohol in Blair’s body, but said he didn’t know at what level. The official also said that authorities in Mexico were working with U.S. consulate to release the body to Blair's family.
In a statement to NBC News, the U.S. State Department said, "We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment."