January 30, 2023

Justice for Shanquella Robinson

3 min read

by ARIAMA C. LONG Report for America Corps Member / Amsterdam News Staff

The murky circumstances surrounding the death of 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson, a Black woman from North Carolina who died on a trip to Mexico with her six “friends” back in October, has not only spurred an international investigation but a fierce debate in the Black community about loyalty and trust among peers. 

A video, circulated on social media, shows Robinson in a luxury villa in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. One Black woman in a bonnet appears to be viciously beating Robinson as a man can be heard in the background apparently mocking her. No one in the video stops the fight.

Most unofficial sources on social media and YouTube are speculating that Robison’s death was at the hands of associates Daejhanae Jackson and Wenter Donavan with “best friend” Khalil Cooke orchestrating. Alysse Hyatt, Malik Dyer and Nazeer Wiggins were also involved. Unofficial sites theorize that the group planned the beating and robbed the defenseless Robinson because of jealousy over her financial success. 

The Associated Press reported that Robinson’s death was on Oct. 29 in the same room seen in the video. The video raised suspicions that Robinson was likely killed by people she was traveling with. 

According to TIME, someone alerted medical staff at the resort that Robinson was drunk around 2 p.m. that day. A doctor told the group Robinson should be transferred to a hospital due to dehydration. They didn’t take her. In the police report it says she died of cardiac arrest, which contradicts the autopsy report. The group left Mexico after Robinson was found dead.

Robinson’s family in Charlotte, N.C., firmly didn’t believe stories they were told by her “friends” about how she died. They were told different versions by the group, including that she died of alcohol poisoning. WSOC reported that the death certificate from Mexican authorities “lists her cause of death as severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation.”  

On a GoFundMe page started to cover the family’s legal fees, Robinson’s sister Quilla Long confirms as much. “Her associates claimed she died of alcohol poisoning, but the death certificate from the Mexican government contradicts this statement as it reveals a broken neck and cracked spine and a time of death which is 15 minutes after she sustained these injuries,” posted Long.

Long said that the U.S. State Department was uncooperative about the case and claimed there was no evidence despite the video being available online.

The GoFundMe page started to gain real traction when Brooklyn Net Kyrie Irving donated $65,000 to the cause. Robinson’s story also garnered outrage from the Black community on social media, keeping her case alive. 

A month later, Mexican authorities are finally investigating Robinson’s death as a femicide and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a case as well.

“The FBI Charlotte Field Office has opened an investigation into 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,” posted WSOC via twitter.

Local Mexican prosecutor Antonio López Rodríguez said an arrest warrant had been issued for the suspect seen beating Robinson in the video, reported the AP. They approached federal prosecutors and diplomats to try to get the woman extradited to face charges in Mexico on Nov. 25. The suspect was not named by Mexican or U.S. authorities. Attempts to find or contact the group that was in Cabo with Robinson have failed so far.

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