Hue and Cry

The Murder of Shanquella Robinson

The Murder of Shanquella Robinson

Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico  |  Year: 2022

Shanquella Brenda Robinson was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She loved gymnastics and went to West Charlotte High School and graduated from Winston-Salem State University. At the age of 25, she was already a successful entrepreneur with two brands under her belt: Exquisite Boutique and Exquisite Kids. “She was a growing, sweet-hearted person — loved people, loved her friends, loved to have fun. Just a smart, intelligent person,” recalled Shanquella’s father Bernard Robinson.

Shanquella Robinson (CNN)

Shanquella and a group of friends planned a trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico for a long weekend to celebrate one of the girl’s birthdays, Daejhanae Jackson. Many sources have referred to the group she traveled with as loose acquaintances from university, rather than good friends. She did know one member of the group well, a man called Khalil Cooke. The two had been best friends for almost five years. Shanquella’s mother, Salamondra Robinson, remembers them being so close that he would visit often and even go on family vacations with them. There were six people total in the group – three men and three women.

The group was leaving on Friday, Oct. 28, and was set to return on Monday, Oct. 31. Upon arrival on Friday, the group checked into a luxury five-bedroom villa, Villa Linda 32, a property. That night Shanquella called her mother to inform her that she had arrived safely and that she would call her the next day as she and her friends were about to have dinner prepared by a personal chef. The group did not go out that night, opting instead to stay at the villa.

One day after the group’s arrival on Saturday, October 29, at approximately 2:13 pm, the villa concierge received a call from the group because one of them was found unconscious on the floor of her room. The concierge called for a doctor and within an hour a doctor from the American Medical Centre, Dr. Karolina Beatriz Ornelas-Gutiérrez, arrived at the residence. The other members of the group told Ornelas-Gutiérrez that Shanquella had “drank a lot” of alcohol. Ornelas-Gutiérrez recalled seeing her disoriented, unable to communicate, unresponsive and she appeared to be intoxicated. She then recommended that she be admitted to the hospital but the friend group insisted that Shanquella be treated at the villa. Around this same time, Salamondra received a frantic phone call from a member of the group saying that Shanquella was sick from alcohol poisoning but that a doctor was on their way.

Things began to get progressively worse after Ornelas-Gutiérrez arrived, after trying unsuccessfully to administer an IV drip, Shanquella began to have a seizure and spontaneous defecation all within the hour. At 4:20 pm an ambulance was called because she could no longer breathe properly and her pulse began to drop – she soon suffered cardiac arrest.

At 4:49 pm paramedics arrived at the residence and began performing CPR, as well as administering adrenaline and discharges from an automated external defibrillator. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive her, however, and Shanquella Robinson was declared dead at 5:57 p.m.

The official police report stated that Shanquella died approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes after a doctor had been called to the residence. There was no observation in the report of any internal or external injuries. It was concluded that a foreign citizen had died of alcohol poisoning.

Salamondra (left), and Shanquella Robinson (The Sun)

Salamondra Robinson had already begun growing suspicious when members of the friend group kept telling her different stories of what had happened that day. Some claimed a maid or doctor found her, there were also different accounts of where she was found including the floor, on the bed, or on a chair. Salamondra was also initially suspicious when she was told that Shanquella was suffering from alcohol poisoning as they had made that claim before a doctor had even arrived. The family’s suspicions were confirmed when the autopsy report was released.

No one told the same story, so I never believed them anyway.

Salamondra Robinson, mother of Shanquella Robinson

On November 5, an official coroner report was released. The report described that Shanquella’s death occurred 15 minutes after she suffered a severe spinal injury. Her neck had been broken and her spine was severed. The official manner of death was severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation (the dislocation of the base of the skull from the first bone of the neck). The report did not mention cardiac arrest or alcohol poisoning. In the report, there is a section that reads “Was it accidental or violent death?” The coroner typed “Yes.”

Things began to further unravel when on Friday, November 18, videos were posted on social media depicting the friend group in Mexico. The first video depicts Shanquella teasing her friends for taking too long to get ready. The energy in the video has been noted by many people to be suspicious, as the group of women all seem to tense up and look at Shanquella as if they had just been speaking about her or had a possible issue with her.

The second video (graphic content) shows a naked woman being beaten in a hotel room. The woman was later confirmed by Salamondra to be Shanquella who in the video was being viciously attacked by a woman. She was thrown to the ground while being punched and kicked in the head, causing her to fall to the ground while still being beaten. There were at least two other people in the room at this time, someone filming the assault as well as a man who can be heard taunting Shanquella by saying “Quella? Can you at least fight back?” to which she responds “No,” and it is clear in the video she is not interested in fighting back.

All members of the group that were in Mexico have since scrubbed their social media accounts. On November 18, 2023, the FBI officially opened an investigation into the death of Shanquella but on April 12, 2023, federal prosecutors officially stated that they did not have enough evidence to press charges in her death. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement that “the available evidence does not support a federal prosecution.” It was not stated how this decision by federal prosecutors would affect the investigation by Mexican authorities.

On November 23, 2023, the Attorney General of Baja California General Prosecutors Office issued an arrest court order for Femicide against the direct aggressor in the video of Shanquella’s beating. The video makes it clear that Shanquella did not die from alcohol poisoning but rather as a result of the altercation. An arrest warrant has been issued but to date, no arrest has been made.

It’s like a nightmare. I can’t even sleep. I am just frustrated. My heart is just aching as a father. A praying man…I just want some truth because this doesn’t add up right.

Bernard Robinson, father of Shanquella Robinson (WSOCTV)

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