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 Oct. 28. Within 24 hours of her arrival, the 25-year-old was dead. Robinson’s friends delivered her bags to her heartbroken parents, Bernard and Salamondra, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and claimed that 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 that Ms. The Independent.🇧🇷
Then, on Nov. 15, gruesome footage surfaced online of a naked Shanquella being brutally beaten in a resort hotel room.
In the roughly 20-second clip, an assailant approaches Shanquella and knocks her to the ground, before unleashing a flurry of brutal punches and kicks. A prone Shanquella falls helplessly to the ground in response. Although her assailant is fully clothed, she is inexplicably naked. A man apparently filming the attack taunts Shanquella without doing anything to intervene. “At least fight back, something,” he can be heard saying.
Shanquella’s father, Bernard Robinson, verified that it was his daughter in the footage in an interview with TMZ and said she believed the attack was premeditated by people she thought were her friends. “My daughter is not a fighter man, she is not a fighter at all,” he said.
The disturbing clip of the attack went viral on social media, and in the face of authorities’ apparent inaction, the hashtag #justiceforquella soon started trending on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Since then, major discrepancies have emerged between the Mexican authorities’ official account of what happened before Shanquella’s death and what others have claimed happened that night.
A police report provided to The Independent by Gerardo Zuñiga, investigative reporter for MetropliMx, revealed that first responders treated Shanquella in her apartment for nearly four hours before she died. In that report, the police claim that the alarm was first raised at 2:23 pm on October 29, just one day after Robinson and his friends arrived at the luxury resort. A doctor arrived an hour later and found Shanquella verbally unresponsive. Not long after, she suffered a seizure.
The police report states that friends refused the doctor’s recommendations that Shanquella be transferred to hospital, insisting that she remain at the resort. It was only when death seemed imminent that an ambulance was called. Mrs. Robinson went into cardiac arrest, after which a doctor reportedly administered 14 rounds of CPR and gave her five shots of adrenaline and six bursts from a defibrillator. These efforts were in vain and she was eventually pronounced dead at 5:57 pm.
This four-hour saga seems in direct opposition to the death certificate describing Mrs. Robinson dying just 15 minutes after suffering a broken neck. Indeed, it is unclear whether 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 received.
The FBI’s Charlotte Field Office has opened an investigation into Shanquella’s death, while the doctor who treated her and the two officers are also reportedly under investigation by the Mexican authorities, according to MetropoliMx🇧🇷 Additionally, the Baja California state attorney general’s office is investigating Shanquella’s death as possible “femicide,” a form of gender-based violence.
On November 23, prosecutors in Mexico issued an arrest warrant for one of the traveling group. The suspect has not been officially identified.
“Actually, it wasn’t a fight, but a direct assault,” said Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, Baja California Sur state prosecutor. MetropoliMx🇧🇷
“We are carrying out all the relevant procedures, such as the Interpol alert and the extradition request to the United States of America. It’s about two Americans, the victim and the culprit.”
Shanquella’s bereaved family did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent. But in several interviews, they say they are desperate for answers from the so-called friends who traveled to Mexico with her, who online activists have dubbed “Cape 6”.
‘Where are you?’
San Jose del Cabo, a port city on the southern tip of Baja California, is a tourist hot spot that attracts around three million international visitors a year. Known for its white sand beaches, turquoise waters and wild nightlife, Cabo is a favorite of young American travelers looking for adventure.
Shanquella, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University who ran a hair braiding and beauty business called Exquisite Kids in her hometown of Charlotte, stayed at the $2,500 per night Villa Linda 32 at the Puerto Los Cabos resort in Fundadores on Oct. 28 with the traveling group. The party included four women and six men.
In a video clip believed to have been filmed on the day of his arrival and shared by Neighborhood Talk Instagram account, Shanquella appears in a good mood while joking that her friends are taking too long to get ready. “It doesn’t take long to get naked. Where are you? she says as she walks through the village, asking which swimsuits the others are going to wear.
According to the police report, Dr. Karolina Beatriz Ornelas Gutiérrez, a doctor at the nearby American Medical Center, arrived at the Villa Linda 32 resort at 3:15 pm on October 29. Doctor calls are relatively common for American tourists in Mexico.
In the police document, which is in Spanish, Dr. Gutierrez says she was told that Shanquella had consumed too much alcohol and needed an IV. The doctor states that Shanquella appeared to be intoxicated and was unable to communicate verbally. She recommended that the patient be transferred to a hospital immediately, but said friends insisted that she remain at the resort.
At 4:20 pm, the police document states that Shanquella began having seizures. The doctor noted that Shanquella was struggling to breathe and her pulse had slowed.
Around that time, Wenter Donovan, one of the friends in the travel group, called 911, the report states. A number from Mrs. Donovan listed in the document has been disconnected.
About half an hour later, at 4:49 pm, the doctor began administering CPR after detecting that Shanquella no longer had a pulse. In all, Shanquella received 14 rounds of CPR, five shots of adrenaline, and six shocks with a defibrillator. She was pronounced dead at 5:57 pm, with the cause of death listed as “cardio-respiratory arrest”.
In a statement to ABC News, the Baja California Sur state attorney general’s office said investigators are gathering “more evidence to obtain a precise clarification of the events, without ruling out any hypothesis.” They did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent.
According to local investigative journalist Geraldo Zunega, authorities in Cabo are looking into the actions of the doctor and two local police officers as part of their inquiry.
‘I never believed in them anyway’
In an interview with CBS News, Shanquella’s mother, Sallamondra Robinson, said her six friends came to see her and gave conflicting accounts of the arrangements for her death. They claimed that her daughter had died of alcohol poisoning and that her body had been found by a maid.
“Nobody told the same story, so I never believed them anyway,” she told CBS News. Mrs. Robinson said her daughter’s body showed obvious signs of trauma and bruising after it was repatriated on Nov. 12.
One member of the group was Shanquella’s closest friend for five years, according to Robinson. That friend even traveled with the Robinsons on family vacations, she added. This friend has not been seen since the autopsy results came out.
After seeing footage of the sickening attack on her daughter, Shanquella’s mother said CBS News she was baffled why none of the so-called friends intervened: “She wasn’t fighting anyone. She didn’t even have a chance.”
Since then, Mrs. Robinson claimed Instagram that friends stole $10,000 from their daughter.
The family initially struggled to convince authorities that Shanquella’s death warranted further investigation. Common GoFundme A page set up to help with the family’s legal costs, Shanquella’s sister Quilla Long says the US State Department told them there was “no clear evidence of foul play”.
“This statement is unacceptable and we are beyond devastated,” writes Long. “We continue to fight for the truth.”
Nearly $370,000 was donated to the fund on Wednesday, including a $65,000 contribution from NBA player Kyrie Irving.
In an interview with NBC News, Salamondra Robinson credited black social media users with bringing attention to the case after mainstream media outlets and authorities showed little interest early on. “I appreciate those who work so hard to do justice. We’re not done yet, but we’re getting there,” she told NBC News.
Hundreds of online sleuths have already pored over “Cape 6’s” digital footprints, looking for clues to what led to the attack on Shanquella, Mexico. Some have deleted their social media accounts in response and are not responding to voicemails or emails.The Independent’ he was unable to speak to any of the six who traveled to Mexico.
The FBI has since confirmed in a statement to the The Independent that they are investigating the death but refuse to release further details.
‘I won’t let this go’
On Saturday, hundreds of people attended Shanquella’s funeral at the Macedonian Baptist Church in Charlotte. The dominant feeling, according to a WBTV present reporterwas the need to “continue to press for justice”.
Among those in attendance was national civil rights activist Tamika Mallory, organizer of the 2017 Women’s March. “We came to make sure there are enough people pushing the entire system to do whatever it takes to get justice for this woman,” Mallory said. WBTV.
Mexican authorities are also under pressure to answer why Shanquella’s friends were allowed to leave the country after the sudden death of their traveling companion.
Robinson’s death came four days after the death of another US citizen, 73-year-old Rodney Davis, who was reportedly kidnapped and murdered near Loreto, a few hundred miles north of San Jose del Cabo. Four suspects were arrested in that case, prosecutors said.
In an interview on Tuesday, Bernard Robinson said The New York Times newspaper he was “hurting deeply” and would not rest until justice was served.
“She’s gone, so now her dad is going to step up and be her voice to the fullest and fullest,” he said. “I will not let this go.”