F.B.I. Investigates Death of American Woman in Mexico
The F.B.I. has opened an investigation into the death of an American woman near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after a video that circulated online appeared to show another woman beating her, as someone else recorded the assault on a phone.
The woman, Shanquella Robinson, 25, of Charlotte, N.C., traveled last month to Mexico with six friends, according to her father, Bernard Robinson.
Some of those friends initially told Ms. Robinson’s mother that Ms. Robinson had died of alcohol poisoning, Mr. Robinson said. But a death certificate issued by Mexican officials and obtained by a Charlotte television station, WSOC-TV, listed the cause of death on Oct. 29 as “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” or the dislocation of a ring-shaped bone that supports the skull.
The certificate stated that Ms. Robinson was found unconscious in a living room at an address in San José del Cabo, Mexico, and died about 15 minutes after she was injured. It did not mention alcohol poisoning.
Mr. Robinson said he was shocked that the Mexican authorities had allowed his daughter’s friends to leave the country after her death. She had flown from Charlotte to Mexico on Oct. 28, he said, one day before she died.
“I can’t talk for her, but I am going to be her voice,” Mr. Robinson said in an interview on Tuesday. “I’m going to be her voice to the end because I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”
The F.B.I. field office in Charlotte confirmed that it had opened an investigation into Ms. Robinson’s death but said it would have no further comment. The State Department referred questions about the investigation to the F.B.I., but said that it provides consular assistance to family members when an American citizen dies abroad.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” the State Department said in a statement. “Out of respect for their privacy, we have no further comment at this time.”
Ms. Robinson graduated from West Charlotte High School and had attended Winston-Salem State University, where she met some of the others — four women and two men — who traveled to Mexico with her, according to her father.
Mr. Robinson said his daughter grew up loving gymnastics and ran her own business braiding children’s hair.
“She was a growing, sweet-hearted person — loved people, loved her friends, loved to have fun,” Mr. Robinson said. “Just a smart, intelligent person.”
He said he did not know why anyone would attack his daughter. But he said that he recognized her in a video that has drawn attention online. According to Mr. Robinson, it shows Ms. Robinson in a bedroom, being repeatedly punched in the head and kicked by a woman as a man stands nearby and says, “Quella, can you at least fight back?”
“It was her,” Mr. Robinson said. “She’s not a fighter. She didn’t believe in drama. She wasn’t raised like that.”
The state attorney general’s office of Baja California Sur, in Mexico, confirmed that an investigation had begun into a femicide, or the killing of a woman because of her gender, according to ABC News. The office said it had received a call at about 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 29 from a “public security member” who reported the death of a foreign woman in a house in the Fundadores Beach Club area in San José del Cabo.
Investigators went to the scene and were collecting “more evidence to achieve the accurate clarification of the events, without ruling out any hypothesis,” the office said in a statement on Nov. 17, according to ABC News. The office did not respond to calls and emails on Tuesday.
The Charlotte Observer reported that it had obtained a police report showing that a doctor had attended to Ms. Robinson after someone called for medical help at a vacation home at 2:13 p.m. on Oct. 29.
The doctor was told that Ms. Robinson had “drunk a lot of alcohol” and found her with stable vital signs, but dehydrated, unable to communicate and appearing to be inebriated, the police report stated, according to The Observer.
The report stated that the doctor wanted Ms. Robinson to be taken to a hospital but that her friends insisted she be treated at the home, according to The Observer.
The doctor tried unsuccessfully to give Ms. Robinson an intravenous line and was there for nearly an hour when Ms. Robinson began to have a seizure, prompting a friend to call for an ambulance, the police report stated, according to The Observer.
The doctor and one of the woman’s friends began CPR at 4:49 p.m. when the doctor detected no pulse, The Observer reported.
Paramedics administered additional rounds of CPR, as well as adrenaline and discharges from an automated external defibrillator, the report stated. Ms. Robinson was declared dead at 5:57 p.m., it stated.
Ms. Robinson’s funeral drew hundreds of mourners on Saturday to a church in Charlotte. Mr. Robinson said he was “hurting to the core” after losing his daughter.
“I just want justice for my daughter,” he said. “She’s gone, so right now her dad is going to stand and be her voice to the utmost and the fullest. I’m not going to let this go.”
Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.