The FBI and attorney general’s office in Mexico are investigating Shanquella Robinson’s death as a “criminal matter.”
Robinson, of Charlotte, NC, was found dead 24 hours after she arrived in Cabo, Mexico with a group of friends.
The 25-year-old business woman arrived in Cabo on October 28 with three males and three females. They shared a rented villa, where Robinson was found unresponsive on October 29.
A video that was leaked online shows a woman violently attacking Robinson who was “naked and defenseless.”
A male voice is heard telling Robinson, “Can you fight back or something?”
Within a day of the graphic video going viral online, the names, addresses, phone numbers and photos of Robinson’s six “friends” were plastered all over social media.
Outraged social media users called their employers and demanded they be fired. The friends claim they are receiving death threats and have locked or deleted their social media accounts. They have reportedly gone into hiding.
One male friend posted a video minimizing his involvement on Wednesday. The man claimed he arrived in Cabo the day Robinson died. “I don’t know nothin’ of it. Don’t know nothin’ ’bout it. Don’t know why it happened,” he said.
Robinson’s family is desperate for answers after an autopsy showed she died of a broken neck and “severe spinal cord injury.”
“She was a good child and had a great heart,” said Sallamondra Robinson, Shanquella’s mother. “And she did not deserve to be treated like that.”
A rep for CaboVillas.com told Rolling Stone, “We are working diligently to determine the facts surrounding this incident, which is currently being investigated as an isolated criminal matter that happened involving guests at a private villa located in Los Cabos.”
The FBI has launched an investigation after viewing the graphic video.
The U.S. State Department previously swept Robinson’s case under the rug, saying, “There was no clear evidence of foul play.”
But on Thursday, the U.S. State Department said, “We are aware of these reports. Protecting the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas is among our top priorities.”
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) November 17, 2022
The attorney general’s office in Mexico sent ABC News a statement Thursday, adding they’ve also launched what’s known as a “femicide investigation.”
Michael Lettieri, an expert on femicide in Mexico, said the direction of the investigation is determined by the gender of the person killed.
“It is supposed to be investigated in a very particular way that’s sensitive to the gender dynamics of the crime,” he told ABC News.
Lettieri said the intense news coverage will help police resolve the case.
“That it is an American, means there will be additional pressure on the Mexican government and the state government to resolve this case and I think that will likely lead to a resolution,” he said.
Robinson was a successful kid’s braider and she owned a fashion boutique in Charlotte. There is speculation that her “friends” may have been envious of her success.
Initially, Robinson’s friends claimed she died from “alcohol poisoning.” They stuck to that story until the video leaked showing one of the women violently attacking Robinson.
The FBI in Charlotte tells WBTV News they are in possession of the video and are investigating the case. The agency encourages anyone with related video and photos to contact the FBI.
No arrests have been made in the case.