The family of Orange County public defender Elliot Blair are demanding a private investigation into his suspicious death while on vacationing in Mexico last week.
Blair, 33, and his wife, Kimberly Williams, were celebrating their first wedding anniversary at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach on the Baja California peninsula when hotel employees found his body in the early hours of January 14. After arriving on the scene, Mexican police stated that Blair had fallen from a fourth floor balcony while intoxicated, according to Mexican news website Patrulla 646.
The family rejects that scenario. Instead, they say Blair was the victim of a “brutal crime” rather than a drunken mishap, KTLA reports.
“Due to the insufficiency of the investigation, the family feels compelled to conduct their own private investigation in search for the truth,” the family’s lawyer, David Scarsone, said. “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 launched a GoFundMe campaign intended to help pay costs associated with returning Blair’s remains to the U.S. and “dealing with all the red tape.” The campaign has already exceeded its $100,000 goal, raising $111,635 as of Thursday afternoon.
The family also released a statement on their GoFundMe page, detailing the events following Elliot’s death.
“Throughout this entire process, it has been suggested by the Mexican authorities that Elliot’s body be cremated,” the statement says. “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 to conduct a thorough, complete, independent investigation.”
Williams, who is also an OC public defender, claims she has been given “multiple versions of what happened to Elliot” throughout the investigation.
The statement goes on to say Blair and Williams had not only stayed in Las Rocas resort and Spa multiple times in the last five years, but they have also stayed in that specific room—which they say is on the third floor, not the fourth, as local police insist—on several occasions. Williams further states that Blair was not intoxicated, and that he was found wearing the clothes he slept in, a T-shirt, underwear and socks.
According to Williams, the incident “did not occur off their room’s balcony, or any other balcony, for that matter.” Rather, it happened in an open-air walkway outside the door of the room.
The Williams family told KABC, that they “have reasons to believe, and evidence, that there was possible foul play” but added that they don’t want to compromise the investigation.
Martin Schwarz, a colleague in the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, told the Orange County Register that they are currently working with U.S. officials to get more information.
“We have been in communication with the family and are doing what we can to support them in this difficult time, including working with local and federal officials to help provide them with answers,” Schwarz told the paper.
“Elliot was a brilliant attorney with a bright future,” his family said. “Elliot had an innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Eliot was a loving husband, son, and brother. Elliot’s tragic, untimely, and suspicious death has left his family and community with a huge hole in their hearts that will never be repaired.”
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