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Autopsy Reveals California Public Defender Was Murdered, Didn’t Fall From Mexican Hotel Balcony

Rosarito, Mexico – An autopsy revealed a 33-year-old California public defender who died while celebrating his one-year anniversary with his wife in Rosarito Beach suffered dozens of skull fractures and injuries indicating he had been dragged, according to his family’s attorney.

Case Barnett, the lawyer representing Elliot Blair’s family, said Blair and his wife, Kimberly Williams, were pulled over by a Rosarito police officer approximately 90 minutes before he was found dead on Jan. 14, KTTV reported.

Police stopped Blair for allegedly rolling through a stop sign, Barnett said.

The officers then “shook him down” for money, according to the attorney.

Barnett said Blair gave the officer $160, which he was initially dissatisfied with but eventually accepted, KTTV reported.

The couple then headed back to their room at Las Rocas Resort and Spa, ABC News reported.

“We’ve never been pulled over before,” Williams later told the news outlet. “We were both rattled, but at the same time we both had this feeling of thank God they didn’t do anything more to us.”

She said she and her husband went dancing for a bit in the hotel bar, then headed to bed at about midnight.

Police records indicated the resort called 911 at 12:50 a.m. to report someone “who apparently suffered a fall,” ABC News reported.

Paramedics arrived at the scene approximately 20 minutes later and determined Blair was deceased.

Williams said she awoke to find the hotel manager and security guard in her room, according to ABC News.

“Excuse me, miss, excuse me, excuse me, is this your boyfriend down here?” they said, according to Williams. “I turned to the side, I didn’t see him there, so I ran out the front door and they’re pointing over the side of our front door area to the ground. Well, that was my Elliot down there.”

Mexico investigators determined Blair died after falling from a balcony located approximately 20 to 25 feet off of the ground, KTTV reported.

According to the State Attorney General’s Office of Baja California, the initial autopsy concluded Blair died as a “result of an unfortunate accident due to the fall of the deceased from a third floor,” ABC News reported.

There were no signs of a struggle in the couple’s hotel room.

A toxicology report indicated Blair had a “considerable” amount of alcohol in his body at the time of his death, the state attorney general further noted.

Barnett said the report listed Blair’s blood-alcohol level at 0.10, KTTV reported.

Williams said her husband was not drunk that night and that he consumed approximately five or six drinks over a six-hour period, according to ABC News.

“In my nine years of being with him and knowing him, I can tell you, I’ve never seen him sloppy,” she insisted. “I’ve never seen him not be able to stand. I’ve not seen him not be able to walk and care for himself.”

His body was embalmed at a Mexican funeral home before his family could have an independent toxicology test conducted, Barnett told ABC News.

“I just know it’s not an accident. I know he didn’t fall. I just know that,” Williams told ABC News. “I want to do everything we can to figure out what happened in that 45-minute, hour time span. Because that’s what Elliot deserves. And that’s the hardest part for me, is not knowing.”

Barnett said Blair’s injuries are inconsistent with the scenario described by police and has alleged the autopsy proves the public defender was severely beaten, KTTV reported.

Blair had 40 fractures to the back of his skull, as well as a toe injury and “road rash” on his knees that indicated he had been dragged, according to Barnett.

His body was found face-down, lying on the right side of the body, KTTV reported.

“He’s not going to have a toe injury and injuries to the back of his head as a result of a fall,” Barnett said.

He said it appears Blair was severely beaten and dragged by multiple people before his death, according to FOX News.

“It’s obvious to us and to the experts we have spoken to that this is foul play,” Barnett said. “It’s either he fell to his knees for some reason or he got hit and dragged. One of our experts told us that it’s likely that more than one man did this if you look at the damage to Elliot’s head.”

Barnett said he and the family’s investigators are working to get to the bottom of what happened to Blair that night, to include trying to get their hands on additional law enforcement reports and hotel security footage, KTTV reported.

An independent autopsy is expected to be completed in the next several weeks.

“I don’t want him to be forgotten. I want the world to know who my Elliot is,” Williams told ABC News. “I want people to know he’s not some drunk that stumbled off the front ledge of our hotel room.”

“I want the world to remember the person he was – his smile, his heart,” she added. “That’s one of the only things keeping me going right now – is the idea of doing this for him, for honoring his name.”

Blair joined the Orange County Public Defender’s Office in 2017, according to KTTV reported.

Williams also works as a public defender.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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