The case of Shanquella Robinson has everyone playing detective. Several people were involved in the trip to Mexico that ended with Robinson losing her life. Aft videos hit the internet, several people began trying to connect the dots of what happened, piecing together what they could see from social media posts and the accounts of the people on the trip with her. A local news station in Robinson’s home state North Carolina tried to piece together what went on as well.
Shanquella Robinson traveled to the resort town of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, with six university friends for a week-long stay in a luxury apartment on October 28. Within 24 hours of their arrival, the 25-year-old was dead. Ms Robinson’s friends delivered her suitcases to her heartbroken parents Bernard and Salamondra in Charlotte, North Carolina, and claimed she had died of alcohol poisoning after a day of heavy drinking.
The friends’ story was discredited when an autopsy released on November 10 revealed Ms Robinson had suffered a “severe spinal cord injury” and broken neck 15 minutes before her death (the death certificate was obtained by The Independent.)
Then, on November 15, horrifying footage emerged online of a naked Shanquella being brutally beaten in a resort hotel room.
In the roughly 20-second long clip, a female aggressor approaches Shanquella and knocks her to the ground, before delivering a flurry of brutal punches and kicks. A prone Shanquella slumps, defenseless, to the floor in response. Although her attacker is fully clothed, she is inexplicably naked. A man seemingly filming the attack taunts Shanquella while doing nothing to intervene. “At least fight back, something,” he can be heard saying.
Shanquella’s father Bernard Robinson verified it was his daughter in the footage in an interview with TMZ and said he believes that the attack was premeditated by the people she thought were her friends. “My daughter’s not a fighter man, she’s not a fighter, not at all,” he said.
The disturbing clip of the attack went viral on social media, and in the face of apparent inaction from authorities, the hashtag #justiceforquella soon began trending on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Since then, major discrepancies have emerged between the Mexican authorities’ official account of what transpired before Shanquella’s death and what others claimed happened that night.
A police report provided to The Independent by Gerardo Zuñiga, an investigative reporter for MetropliMx, revealed emergency responders treated Shanquella in her apartment for nearly four hours before she died. In that report, police claim that the alarm was first raised at 2.23pm on October 29, just one day after Ms Robinson and her friends arrived at the luxury resort. A doctor arrived an hour later to find Shanquella verbally unresponsive. Not long afterwards, she suffered a seizure.
The police report states that friends refused the doctor’s recommendations that Shanquella be transferred to hospital, insisting she remain at the resort. It was only when death appeared imminent that an ambulance was called. Ms Robinson went into cardiac arrest, after which a doctor reportedly administered 14 rounds of CPR, and gave her five doses of adrenaline and six discharges of a defibrillator. These efforts were in vain, and she was eventually pronounced dead at 5.57pm.
This four-hour-long saga seems in direct opposition to the death certificate which describes Ms Robinson dying just 15 minutes after suffering a broken neck. Indeed, it’s unclear if the doctor who treated Shanquella was aware that she was suffering from a catastrophic spinal injury or whether her friends’ insistence that she had alcohol poisoning affected the treatment she was given.
The FBI’s Charlotte Field Office has opened an investigation into Shanquella’s death, while the doctor who treated her and the two police officers are also reportedly under investigation by Mexican authorities, according to MetropoliMx. Additionally, the Baja California state attorney general’s office is investigating Shanquella’s death as a possible “femicide”, a form of gender-based violence.
On 23 November, prosecutors in Mexico issued an arrest warrant for one of the travelling group. The suspect has not been officially named.
“Actually it wasn’t a quarrel, but instead a direct aggression,” Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, a prosecutor for the state of Baja California Sur, told MetropoliMx.
“We are carrying out all the pertinent procedures such as the Interpol alert and the request for extradition to the United States of America. It’s about two Americans, the victim and the culprit.”
Shanquella’s grieving family have not responded to requests for comment from The Independent. But in several interviews, they say they are desperate for answers from the so-called friends who travelled to Mexico with her, who online activists have dubbed “the Cabo 6”.