December 11, 2023

The family of a woman killed on a Mexico vacation will sue six of her travel companions for hindering an investigation into her death.

Shanquella Robinson, 25-year-old, who ran her own hair braiding business in Charlotte, North Carolina, had traveled to Mexico with six friends on October 28, 2022, for a short vacation. Her severely injured body was found the next day.

“The lawsuit will be against the six travel mates including the three who lied by omission by failing to disclose that someone had been beating Shanquella prior to her death,” family lawyer, Sue-Ann Robinson, told Newsweek.

Shanquella Robinson family
Shanquella Robinson, who was found dead in a Mexico apartment in October 2022. Her family now intend to sue six people they say are hindering the investigation.

Shanquella Robinson was found unconscious in the living room of a rented villa in San José del Cabo, a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. She died that afternoon.

According to her father, Bernard Robinson, some of her friends said she had succumbed to alcohol poisoning. But an autopsy released in November found that his daughter had died of “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” a condition where unstable or excessive movement is present in the first two vertebrae of the neck, 15 minutes after being injured.

A 20-second video began circulating online five days later that showed a woman, identified as Robinson by her family, being repeatedly punched and kicked by another woman. A man standing nearby can be heard saying: “Quella, can you at least fight back?” The video later went viral on social media, with many people across America calling for justice for Robinson.

The woman alleged to have beaten Robinson was one of her travel companions. She returned to the United States and has shut down her social media accounts. Newsweek’s repeated attempts to contact her have not been successful.

Sue-Ann Robinson confirmed that the law firm she works for “will be filing a civil lawsuit on behalf of the family.”

She said Shanquella’s family “are tired, weary, heartbroken and missing Shanquella but motivated by her legacy to keep moving forward on the path to her justice.”

Robinson’s mysterious death and the video resulted in an investigation by the FBI and Mexican police.

In November 2022, Mexican police released an investigative report that showed that Robinson may have been alive for several hours and received care from a doctor before authorities arrived and pronounced her dead. The doctor told authorities that Robinson’s friends had insisted she be taken care of in the house instead of going to the hospital.

“This case is fully clarified, we even have a court order, there is an arrest warrant issued for the crime of femicide to the detriment of the victim and against an alleged perpetrator, a friend of her who is the direct aggressor,” state prosecutor Daniel de la Rosa Anaya told ABC News at the time.

“Actually it wasn’t a quarrel, but instead a direct aggression. 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.”

Sue-Ann Robinson has already traveled to Mexico and was in direct contact with Mexican authorities, who shared some of their investigative files. She has not said to Newsweek when she intended to launch the civil action against the six.

Paul Arnell, associate professor at Robert Gordon University, previously told Newsweek that political issues can interfere with the extradition process, even though the U.S. and Mexico are allies.

“Political concerns can affect the decision to request an individual and the decision whether or not to accede to hand the person over. The process is therefore somewhat dependent upon the overall relations between the countries. If, say, Mexico has refused to send persons to the U.S. then in turn the U.S. may act similarly,” he said.

The Mystery of Shanquella Robinson’s Death

OCTOBER 29, 2022: Shanquella Robinson is found dead in Mexico. Medical examinations and records raise questions about the circumstances of Robinson’s death.

NOVEMBER 2022: Video emerges online allegedly showing a naked Robinson being hit multiple times by another woman. A man off-camera can be heard asking: “Quella, can you at least fight back?”

MARCH 13, 2023: Attorneys Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson identify a woman suspected of Robinson’s death in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The letter calls on the U.S. government to either extradite the woman to Mexico or prosecute her in the U.S.

In a note attached to the letter, an administrator and a concierge for the villa where the group was staying tell Mexican authorities that, having reviewed the video clip, they recognize the woman beating Robinson in the widely circulated video.

OCTOBER 2023: As Shanquella Robinson’s first anniversary approaches, her family’s attorney tells Newsweek that she intends to sue six of Robinson’s companions for hindering the investigation.