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Mexican prosecutors have filed charges against a suspect in the death of Shanquella Robinson, a 25-year-old American woman who died on Oct. 29 while on vacation with six of her friends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Mexican authorities have not publicly named the American woman they are seeking to extradite, but have confirmed it is one of her friends. The FBI is also involved in the ongoing investigation.
“I feel so good, that’s a good feeling. That’s what we have been waiting for, for someone to finally be held accountable and arrested,” Salamondra Robinson, Robinson’s mother, told ABC News when she found out an arrest warrant had been issued. “I just can’t wait for justice to be served.”
A viral video of a woman, who appears to be Robinson, being beaten helped Robinson’s case garner national attention. Robinson’s friends initially told Salamondra that she had died of alcohol poisoning, ABC News reported, but an autopsy listed Robinson’s cause of death as serious spinal cord injury and dislocated neck.
Here’s what we know about the case.
Shanquella Robinson’s Death and Family Outcry
Authorities found Robinson dead in the living room of her vacation rental in San Jose del Cabo on Oct. 29, according to an autopsy report, but initial local police reports offer different timelines on what happened that day.
A guest allegedly alerted medical staff at the resort where Robinson was staying that the victim had “drunk a lot of alcohol” around 2 p.m. that day, according to a local police report obtained by ABC News. A doctor advised that Robinson be transferred to a hospital due to dehydration, but none of her friends did so. She later died of cardiac arrest, the police report says.
The official autopsy report, however, says that medical officials came to see her before 3 p.m., after which she was rapidly declared dead from sustaining an injury to her spinal cord and neck. Mexican prosecutors have labeled her death as “a direct attack, not an accident.”
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The day of her passing, Robinson’s friends initially told her parents that their daughter died from alcohol poisoning. Robinson’s mother, Salamondra, later told Good Morning America that the day before the autopsy report was released, Robinson’s friends went over to her house and each told her a different description of what happened in Mexico. She said she did not believe their stories.
Robinson’s family called for authorities to take a deeper look at the case and insisted that the 25-year-old’s death was not from alcohol poisoning, especially after the video of what her family believes is Robinson surfaced. It’s not clear when the video was taken, but Robinson can be seen being beaten as a male voice in the background says, “Can you at least fight back?”
The outcry of Robinson’s family garnered national attention, and last week the FBI then announced that they had opened an investigation in the case.
FBI Opens Investigation
Nearly a month after Robinson’s death, the FBI Charlotte Field Office opened an investigation as Mexican prosecutors attempt to extradite the suspect.
“The FBI Charlotte Field Office has opened an investigation in the death of Charlotte resident, Shanquella Robinson in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on or about October 29, 2022. Due to the ongoing investigation, we have no further comment,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Charlotte Observer.
Mexican authorities are investigating the case as a femicide, which is defined as the homicide of a woman because of her gender. Mexico has seen a significant rise in femicides in recent years, increasing from 427 victims in 2015 to 1,004 in 2021, per Vision of Humanity.
“There is already an arrest warrant issued for the crime of femicide,” Daniel de la Rosa, the attorney general for Baja California Sur, told local media outlets last week.
One of Robinson’s friends is being accused of the murder, though investigators have not identified whom. “We are already carrying out all the relevant procedures, both the Interpol file and the extradition request,” de la Rosa added.