Family orders autopsy after Elliot Blair’s death in Mexico
The body of an Orange County attorney whose death in Mexico is still shrouded in mystery has been returned to Southern California, where his family has ordered an independent autopsy, according to their attorney.
Elliot Blair, 33, was found dead January 14 at Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito Beach, a popular tourist area in Baja California. He and his wife Kimberly Williams, also an assistant public defender for Orange County, were on vacation to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
Mexican authorities attributed Blair’s death to an accidental fall from an open walkway on the hotel’s third floor, but Blair’s family said they believed he was the “victim of a brutal crime.”
The independent autopsy is expected to be conducted in Los Angeles on Wednesday, said Case Barnett, the family’s attorney.
The family want to know “what happened to him that night, whether it was a fall or an assault, we want to know,” Barnett said.
Baja California Atty. General Ricardo Iván Carpio Sánchez called Blair’s death a “horrific case” and spoke of an autopsy performed by the state’s forensic medical service that decided Blair died of traumatic brain injury. The report does not indicate any visible injuries consistent with a firearm or edged weapon, Carpio said.
Blair’s family members, meanwhile, said they had to decipher conflicting information and had no direct contact with Mexican authorities as they frequently received reports of Blair’s death from middlemen or local media.
Through their attorney, the family has said that on the night of Blair’s death, a plainclothes detective told Williams that Blair had received a gunshot wound to the head. About a day later, the family said, a contact at the coroner’s office said the paperwork in the case indicated that Blair had suffered a “blow to the head” and that his death was being investigated as a homicide.
The family also said coroners told them prosecutors had ordered Blair’s body to be embalmed, daunting their hopes of producing an independent toxicology report to disprove claims that Blair was intoxicated when he died died. Authorities at the scene the night Blair died suggested he was intoxicated, which Williams has repeatedly denied. (The couple had previously been drinking at the hotel bar.)
Carpio has denied that the remains were to be embalmed without permission.
Blair’s family is conducting its own investigation into his death, Barnett said. Through their investigators, the family learned that Mexican authorities were “conducting a more thorough investigation than we originally thought” by examining the case as a possible homicide.
It’s unclear if the case is still open, Barnett said.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-31/elliot-blair-independent-autopsy-orange-county-public-defender-died-in-mexico Family orders autopsy after Elliot Blair’s death in Mexico