Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant for an American woman suspected of killing 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson of Charlotte, N.C., last month in Mexico and now want the suspect extradited back to the country to face charges.
Prosecutors in the state of Baja California Sur last Thursday did not publicly name the suspect, according to the Associated Press, but did share that they have been in contact with diplomats and Mexican federal prosecutors to return her to Mexico. Authorities haven’t specified what charges the suspect could be facing.
The FBI, meanwhile, continues to conduct its own separate investigation. The agency has not responded to several requests for comment from Yahoo News.
This latest development follows weeks of agony for Robinson’s family, who have yet to receive sufficient answers about how she traveled to the resort city of San José del Cabo, Mexico, on Oct. 28 with six friends to celebrate one of their birthdays and was found dead less than 24 hours later. All those friends have since returned home.
A local Mexican prosecutor, Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, told ABC News last week that Robinson’s death was being treated as a femicide, the act of killing a woman based on her gender.
“This case is fully clarified, we even have a court order,” de la Rosa Anaya said. “It wasn’t a quarrel, but instead a direct aggression. ... It’s about two Americans, the victim and the culprit.”
Hearing the news for the first time, Robinson’s mother, Sallamondra, told ABC that she couldn’t be more pleased.
“I feel so good,” she said. “That’s what we have been waiting for, for someone to finally be held accountable and arrested. I just can’t wait for justice to be served.”
Just ahead of Thanksgiving, in an interview with NBC News, Sallamondra Robinson said she is especially appreciative of the dozens of Black social media users who made sure the case got the attention it deserved.
“I never thought she wouldn’t get justice because we were going to try to go all the way,” she said. “But I appreciate everything that everybody’s done, however you’ve played a part in it.”
Having charges brought forth in Shanquella Robinson’s death is a dramatic step forward from where the family was just two weeks ago.
Initially, Robinson’s mother was told by friends on the trip that her daughter had died from alcohol poisoning.
“They said she wasn’t feeling well. She had alcohol poisoning,” Sallamondra told WSOC-TV earlier this month, recalling an anxious call she got from one of her daughter’s friends. “They couldn’t get a pulse. Each one of the people that was there with her was telling different stories.”
But for Sallamondra, none of the details added up. She had just talked to her daughter on the Friday evening when Shanquella arrived in Cabo before the group had dinner plans, and hours later she was dead. It wasn’t until Sallamondra received an autopsy report from the Mexican Secretariat of Health that the family learned Shanquella had suffered a broken neck and a cracked spine. No mention of alcohol was included in the report.
Even after the group of friends had returned home from the trip, it took another two weeks and $6,000 in transportation fees for Robinson’s body to be returned to the family.
Two additional weeks passed by before Gerald Jackson, a blogger in North Carolina, published video footage that he alleges shows a woman attacking Robinson. In the video, a woman appears to repeatedly punch Robinson as she tries to regain her balance. A voice off camera tells Robinson to “at least fight back.”
Robinson’s mother recognizes the other people in the video as the people on the trip with her daughter, and she believes it was captured in Cabo.
“How could they do this to my baby?” Robinson’s father, Bernard, told the North Carolina Beat, Jackson’s website.
Robinson’s sister, Quilla Long, created a GoFundMe account to help the family cover legal fees and funeral expenses. In less than two weeks, it has raised more than $380,000, with several celebrities donating large sums, including Kyrie Irving and businessman John Legere.
Sallamondra believes all the friends on the trip deserve to be arrested.
“I would like to see each one of them sent back to Mexico, because their plan was to come back here thinking that they wasn’t going to be prosecuted,” she told ABC News. “She was a caring person ... and I want them to always remember that. We’re going to keep her legacy alive.”
Cover thumbnail photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: family handout