ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Anton Alferov, 34, was arrested for disturbing the peace in Mexico last week, but then died in jail. Now his death is under investigation.
"It looks like a story somebody made up. It looks like a very scary situation, like some movie or something," said Samik Tadjiev while talking about the death of his friend.
A cloud of mystery hangs over the death of Alferov, a talented acrobat who, up until recently, performed for Cirque du Soleil and in SeaWorld's "Odyssea" show.
"He loved what he did," said Tadjiev.
Alferov recently left Orlando and went to Acapulco, Mexico, trying to create his own circus show there.
Friends said he was popular in the town and had received the backing of several well-known people, until his arrest last week.
"They don't know exactly what happened, how he ended up in jail," said Tadjiev.
Alferov was officially charged with disturbing the peace, but he never made it out of jail alive.
According to Mexican law enforcement, Alferov killed himself in jail by beating his head against a wall.
"He would never kill himself. He would never do such a thing," said Tadjiev.
Friends and family said officials then changed their story to explain the death.
"[Mexican authorities said] he fought with inmates," said Tadjiev.
Officials in Alferov's native country, Russia, have opened up their own investigation.
Russian authorities are trying to get Alferov's body released so a second autopsy can be done, but Mexican authorities aren't cooperating.
"They were trying to push us to cremate his body in Mexico City," said Tadjiev.
Saturday the Russian consulate will be in Mexico trying to get Alferov's body released.
In the meantime, friends have set up as Facebook page, Justice for Anton, and it already has nearly 400 people on it.