Orange County lawyer's death in Mexico was 'brutal crime,' family says

The family of a Orange County public defender who died in Mexico over the weekend while celebrating his first wedding anniversary said they've been "devastated" by the lack of communication from local authorities, and will be conducting their own independent investigation because of the "insufficiency" of the official investigation.

Elliot Blair was a deputy public defender with the Orange County Public Defender's office since 2017. According to a GoFundMe campaign set up in his honor, Blair was in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, with his wife Kim, celebrating their first wedding anniversary when he was found dead on Jan. 14.

"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 press release Tuesday. 

In that release, the family expressed multiple frustrations with authorities there. They said local authorities have yet to reach out to the family directly, and that the only communication they have received came yesterday from a liaison to the coroner's office. 

"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 family said.

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They also claimed that Blair's wife "has been given multiple versions of what happened to Elliot."

According to the family, the couple was staying at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa, a place they'd frequented over the years. Blair was also apparently fluent in Spanish, and was very familiar with the layout of the resort. The family said that he was found in his underwear, a t-shirt and socks in an open air walkway outside the couple's room, and that while the family found a local news article citing Mexican authorities calling Blair's death an "unfortunate accident," that was never communicated to the family. 

Blair's family said they plan to do their own independent investigation into what happened, including hiring a private investigator and doing a complete independent medical examination. The family claimed they had to tell authorities on two separate occasions that they did not want Blair's body cremated, so that they may complete that investigation.

"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 family's press release said.

Blair is survived by his wife, mother and sister.