California deputy public defender killed during Mexican vacation: Officials

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A lawyer who worked for the Orange County Public Defender’s office was killed Saturday while celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife in Mexico, California officials said.

Elliot D. Blair, a 33-year-old assistant attorney, died in Rosarito Beach, a popular resort town close to Mexico’s northern border, County Public Defender Martin Schwarz said in a statement to The Orange County Registry.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Blair was killed, but a GoFundMe set up on behalf of his family said he had been the victim of “a brutal crime”.

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“Elliot was known as a patient and caring advocate,” wrote the page’s author, Annie Rodriguez, another staffer in the public defender’s office. “He was the best of us and loved by countless members of our firm and the Orange County legal community. We are heartbroken.”

His wife, identified on the fundraising page as a woman named Kim, was not involved in the incident. She was also a public defender, according to Rodriguez.

“There are not enough words to express how much love he had for Kim,” Rodriguez added. “Kim was his life…Kim’s heart is shattered.”

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Kim and Blair’s other loved ones were negotiating the repatriation of his body to the United States on Sunday.

A Spanish-language report by Rosarito outlet Noticias BC attributed Blair’s death to a fall from a fourth-floor balcony at Las Rocas Resort and Spa, a local hotel. A police report of the incident reportedly details how council officials were called to the scene and found a man, later identified as Blair, unresponsive and lying face down at around 1am Saturday.

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Blair, who began working in the public defender’s office immediately after passing the bar in 2017, was described by Schwarz as a “dedicated husband, a wonderful person and a wonderful attorney who devoted his life to serving his clients.” and helping the county’s most vulnerable.”

Schwarz also said he was “working with local and federal officials” to gather more details about the case, with Mexican authorities sharing little information about the case with Blair’s family so far.