Initial reports indicate that the death of an Orange County public defender, who was vacationing at a popular Mexican tourist destination, was an “unfortunate accident,” authorities said, but the man’s family disputes the findings.
Eliot Blair, 33, died Saturday in Rosarito as he celebrated his first wedding anniversary with his wife Kim.
According to the Orange County Register, officials from the Baja California Attorney General’s Office said an autopsy report found that Blair’s death “appeared to be the result of an unfortunate accident from the now-deceased’s fall from a third floor.” “
The Register also reported that Mexican authorities investigating Blair’s death are in contact with the US Department of Justice and the FBI, who are sharing information with Blair’s family.
Attempts to reach the Baja California Attorney General’s office on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
A State Department spokesperson said the agency is aware of reports that a US citizen has died in Rosarito, and it stands ready to provide consular assistance. The agency declined to comment further.
The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an interview with the Register, David Scarsone, a lawyer hired by Blair’s family, said the family cast doubts on the Mexican authorities’ report and plans to launch a separate investigation.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Scarsone said.
Scarsone did not respond to requests for an interview on Tuesday.
Details of the death are scarce, although a GoFundMe Campaign to aid in the process of returning Blair’s body to the US – launched by Annie Rodriguez, who describes herself as the couple’s friend and colleague – described it as “a brutal crime”. The Spanish language publication Reporting BC reported that a man like Blair fell from a fourth-floor hotel room. The hotel, Las Rocas Resort and Spa, is located off the Tijuana-Ensenada Highway in Rosarito.
Blair has worked at the state’s attorney’s office since 2017, the year he passed the bar exam, handling crimes from the Santa Ana office.
Martin Schwarz, an Orange County public defender, told the Register that Blair was a “devoted husband, a wonderful person and a wonderful attorney who devoted his life to serving his clients and helping the county’s most vulnerable.”
“He impacted countless lives and his loss will be deeply felt by all who knew him,” added Schwarz. “We have been in touch with the family and are doing what we can to support them through this difficult time, including working with local and federal officials to help them provide answers.”
Schwarz declined to comment on Tuesday.