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An arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect in the murder of 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson, who died last month while on vacation in Mexico's Baja peninsula, after her autopsy contradicted friends' reports that the North Carolina woman died of alcohol poisoning.
Mexican authorities have not yet released the suspect's identity. In an interview with ABC News, Baja California Sur prosecutor Daniel de la Rosa Anaya said that his office has issued an Interpol alert and requested the suspect's extradition from the United States, and that the case is "about two Americans, the victim and the culprit."
Oxygen.com could not reach Anaya's office for comment at press time.
The State Attorney's Office of Baja California announced last Thursday that Robinson's death was being investigated as femicide, defined as "the gender-based murder of a woman."
Sallamondra Robinson, the victim’s mother, said that in the immediate aftermath of her daughter’s death on Oct. 29, the North Carolina woman's friends called her to tell her that she had succumbed to alcohol poisoning.
"They said she wasn't feeling well. She had alcohol poisoning," Sallamondra Robinson told Queen City News. "They couldn't get a pulse. Each one of the people that was there with her was telling different stories.
The younger Robinson had last spoken to her mother on Oct. 28, the day she landed in Mexico and arrived at a villa in San Jose del Cabo, according to CNN.
"She told me they had a chef. They were getting ready to eat. They were eating tacos or a salad or something, and I said, 'OK. I love you. Have a good night, and I will talk to you tomorrow,'" said the elder Robinson. "I never talked to my child again. She never made it back home."
Following her death, a now-viral video surfaced apparently depicting Robinson being brutally attacked and thrown to the ground by a woman in the group's villa. The day after her death, the victim's mother told CBS News in an interview that one of her daughter's friends called to admit that there had been a fight.
The Charlotte native's cause of death was listed on her death certificate as a "severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation" - a nervous system complication caused by the misalignment of the top cervical vertebrae. Alcohol was not mentioned in the document, according to WSOC-TV, and a box that asked if the death was violent or accidental was checked yes.
The death certificate also stated that Robinson, who ran a popular hair braiding salon and an online boutique, was dead about 15 minutes after sustaining her injuries.
However, information from a local police report cited by ABC News throws this timeline into question. An area doctor was in the villa with Robinson and her friends almost three hours before she was pronounced dead.
According to the report, the responding doctor was told Robinson had consumed a lot of alcohol and needed to be given an IV. The doctor assessed Robinson to be dehydrated, but otherwise exhibiting stable vital signs. The doctor said Robinson should be transported to a hospital, but her friends declined, keeping her at the rental property, the police report stated.
About two hours after the doctor’s arrival, Robinson began to have a seizure. One of her friends, identified by ABC News as Wenter Donovan of Greensboro, called emergency services. The doctor and one of Robinson's friends began administering CPR at 4:49 pm when they detected she had no pulse. Medical personnel continued life-saving measures at the hospital, but Robinson was declared dead at 5:57 p.m.
The police information does not mention the physical injuries that were reported by Robinson's family prior to her burial. However, the report does state that Robinson suffered cardiac arrest prior to her death.
Since her death, the FBI and Mexican authorities have launched an investigation into Robinson's death. Conflicting explanations and a lack of concrete evidence caused the tragic story to go viral, with the hashtag #JusticeforShanquella trending on Twitter, Facebook and TikTok.
After the arrest warrant was issued last week, Robinson's mother told ABC News "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. I just can't wait for justice to be served."
A GoFundMe launched for Robinson's funeral expenses and to offset the family's financial burden has raised $385,926 at the time of writing.
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