Monday, June 24, 2024

Lawyer: OC Public Defender Found Dead in Mexico Was Shot in the Head

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An attorney representing the family of 33-year-old Elliot Blair, the Orange County public defender who was found dead at a Mexican resort on January 14, has told BuzzFeed News that Blair had a gunshot wound to his head, contradicting reports by officials in Mexico that Blair died of a fall from his hotel balcony.

Blair’s family has been challenging those reports since his mysterious death, calling it a “brutal crime,” though concrete details surrounding the circumstances have been elusive. The family is still trying to bring Blair’s body home to the U.S. while pursuing an independent investigation. 

Blair family attorney Case Barnett described the slow process of piecing together scant details while working with local police in Mexico. “We’re hoping that that continues so we can get his body back and we can get some of those reports so we can see for ourselves what information they actually have,” Barnett said.

“At this point,” he told ABC News, “the facts continue to not fit. Nothing fits.”

Blair was celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife, Kimberly Williams, at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa at Rosarito Bach on the ​​Baja California peninsula when his body was found. Though authorities have consistently called Blair’s cause of death severe head trauma due to a drunken fall, the family’s efforts to obtain independent toxicology results and an autopsy have underscored their suspicions that Blair’s case is being mishandled.

These efforts were complicated when, according to the New York Post, the family was informed that Blair’s body had already been embalmed.

“They let out a primal scream when Elliot’s mom told them his body was already embalmed,” Barnett said. “I’ve never heard so much pain and screaming. It’s as if Elliot was dead again.” The family was particularly devastated, the Post reports, that they lost the opportunity to confirm Blair was not drunk at the time of his death, a narrative authorities in Mexico have continued to push. 

In a statement to the family’s GoFundMe page says they are “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.” 

A candlelight vigil hosted by the Blair and Williams families was held Thursday evening at Plaza Square in Orange, CA. 

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