An attorney working for the Orange County Public Defender's office was killed on Saturday while celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife in Mexico, California officials said.
Elliot D. Blair, a 33-year-old assistant public defender, died in Rosarito Beach, a popular resort town close to Mexico's northern border, county Public Defender Martin Schwarz said in a statement given to The Orange County Register.
Blair Fell Off His Hotel Room, Killed in 'Brutal Crime' Says Family
It was not immediately clear how Blair was killed, but a GoFundMe set up on behalf of his family said he had been the victim of "a brutal crime."
A Spanish-language publication, Noticias BC, reported that a man bearing the description of Blair fell out of a fourth-floor hotel room. The hotel, Las Rocas Spa and Resort, is in Rosarito and situated along the Tijuana-Ensenada freeway.
A police writeup of the incident reportedly detailed how municipal officers were summoned to the scene and found a man, later identified as Blair, unresponsive and face-down around 1 a.m. Saturday.
Schwarz also said that he was "working with local and federal officials" to gather more details on the case, with little information on the case having been shared with Blair's family by Mexican authorities so far.
Blair Described as 'Devoted Husband' and 'Fantastic Lawyer'
The GoFundMe campaign was established to help Blair's wife, Kim, with the costs of transporting Blair's body back to the United States and "dealing with all the red tape."
"Elliot was known as a patient and caring advocate," wrote the page's author, Annie Rodriguez, another staffer in the public defender's office. "He was the best of us and was loved by countless members of our office and the Orange County legal community. We are heartbroken."
His wife, identified on the fundraising page as a woman named Kim, was not involved in the incident. She was also a public defender, according to Rodriguez. "There are not enough words to express the level of love he had for Kim," Rodriguez added. "Kim was his life... Kim's heart is shattered."
Public Defender Martin Schwarz told the Orange County Register that Blair was a "devoted husband, terrific person and a fantastic lawyer who dedicated his life to serving his clients and helping the county's most vulnerable."
"He impacted countless lives and his loss will be felt deeply by all who knew him," Schwarz added. "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." Blair's wife is also a public defender in Orange County.