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California public defender dies in Mexico; loved ones claim ‘brutal crime’


Loved ones are disputing the official explanation of why a public defender from Orange County, California died in Mexico while celebrating the one-year anniversary with his wife over the weekend.

Elliot Blair, 33, died early Saturday morning at the Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito after authorities said he was intoxicated and fell from a fourth-floor balcony, according to Patrulla 646, a news website in Mexico.

In a GoFundMe post, however, organizers claim “Elliot was tragically killed” and “was the victim of a brutal crime.”

“Very limited information has been disclosed by authorities in Mexico,” the organizer, Annie Rodriguez, said.

The Orange County Register, which first reported Blair’s death, received a statement from Martin Schwarz, a colleague in the Orange County Public Defender’s office, who said they were 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 O.C. Register.

Blair, who lived in Orange, had worked for the public defender’s office since 2017.

“Elliot was a compassionate lawyer who dedicated his life to serving indigent clients,” Rodriguez said. “Elliot was known as a patient and caring advocate. He was the best of us and was loved by countless members of our office and the Orange County legal community. We are heartbroken.”

Rodriguez says the money raised through the GoFundMe will support Blair’s widow, Kim, with the process of returning Blair’s body to the United States and “dealing with all the red tape.”


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