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Mexican Officials Open Homicide Investigation After Video Of US Woman’s Beating Goes Viral
Shanquella Robinson's loved ones were told the 25-year-old died of alcohol poisoning while vacationing in Mexico until they received an autopsy report stating she died of a severe spinal cord injury.
Mexican officials announced they’re looking into the death of an American tourist after a disturbing video when viral.
A woman, identified by multiple outlets as Shanquella Robinson, 25, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was found dead on Saturday, Oct. 29, at a hotel in a resort town on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement emailed to Oxygen.com, the FBI stated Robinson’s death occurred in San Lucas. However, autopsy reports obtained by ABC News and elsewhere list Robinson’s death as taking place some 20 miles northeast in San Jose del Cabo, which has been widely reported.
On Thursday, prosecutors from Baja California Sur announced they’re investigating the death after a graphic video was extensively shared on the internet showing a woman — also believed to be American — violently beating Robinson inside a hotel room, according to the Associated Press.
The video has not been verified by Oxygen.com, though it has been published by multiple news stations, including CBS Charlotte affiliate WBTV and cited by major news outlets nationwide.
The daytime attack seems to be recorded by a man who does not intervene but asks, “‘Quella, can you at least fight back?” while the female attacker delivers a volley of slaps, kicks and punches to a naked Robinson.
Officials have not confirmed whether or not the beating was directly related to Robinson’s death. However, the State Attorney General’s office in Baja California Sur called Robinson’s death a femicide, according to ABC News.
It’s unclear whether or not American officials will come to the same determination.
“The video is sickening,” Robinson’s sister, Quilla Long, told ABC News.
In a statement to Queen City News, the U.S. State Department confirmed receipt of the video but referred all inquiries to Mexican officials.
A postmortem examination by the Mexican Secretariat of Health listed Robinson’s cause of death as “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” according to ABC News, indicating the neck had been broken. Autopsy findings obtained by the outlet also estimated it took Robinson about 15 minutes to die following the initial injury.
Robinson reportedly went to the resort town with six friends on Friday, Oct. 28, just one day before the assault, Robinson’s mother, Sallamondra Robinson, told Good Morning America.
Per Queen City News, the group headed to Cabo for a birthday celebration at Villa Linda 32, a five-bedroom villa that boasts “luxury, tranquility and marvelous ocean views."
That Friday night, Sallamondra said she spoke with her daughter, and everything seemed fine.
“She said, ‘well, mother, I’m getting ready to eat,’” Sallamondra said in her interview. “I said, ‘well, OK. Enjoy yourself. Have a good time. And I love you, and I will talk to you tomorrow.’”
A representative for Villa Linda 32 told Queen City News that guests with Robinson called the concierge on Saturday afternoon and that the concierge then called a doctor. However, the medical professional couldn't revive Robinson, who had been found unconscious in the living room, with life-saving measures, including CPR.
Who posted the video to the internet and when remains unclear, though Robinson’s friends allegedly told the grieving mother that her daughter died of alcohol poisoning.
“Saturday evening, I got a call saying Shanquella wasn’t feeling well,” Sallamondra told Good Morning America.
In a separate interview with Queen City News, Sallamondra said, “Each one of the people who was there with her was telling different stories.”
But the autopsy report contradicted those statements, and no alcohol was discovered in Robinson’s system, according to ABC News.
“I did not believe them because, actually, before they even got back to Charlotte — I don’t know when they arrived, but someone had already called us and said that someone was fighting her over there,” Sallamondra told Good Morning America.
The circulation of the video only confirmed for Robinson’s loved ones that violence could have been a factor in the woman’s death.
Additionally, a box on Robinson's autopsy report was ticked “yes” when asked if the victim’s death was “accidental or violent,” according to ABC News.
“The people that she was with, I knew one of them very well,” continued Robinson’s mother. “I thought that he was her friend and he would look out for her. But, unfortunately, that’s not what it is.”
In breaking news on Friday morning, the FBI confirmed with ABC Charlotte news affiliate WSOC-TV reporters that they are now involved in the investigation, after initially deferring to Mexican investigators.
Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch for the FBI confirmed this with Oxygen.com.
“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 Oct. 29. 2022,” the statement read. “Due to the ongoing investigation, we have no further comment."
Robinson’s sister, Quilla Long, created a GoFundMe page to raise funds following a “tremendous, unexpected burden and a great deal of pain.”
So far, no one has been arrested for the violent assault or in connection with Robinson’s death.
Long told WSOC-TV she hopes that will change.
“Stop running,” Long told reporters. “Somebody needs to stand up for her.”
“Shanquella was a wonderful daughter. You know, [a] loving daughter. And we really gonna miss her,” Sallamondra told Good Morning America. “Anything positive, that’s exactly who she was.”