Rally for Shanquella Robinson, American tourist who died in Mexico, calls for justice

An arrest warrant has been issued for the crime of femicide, prosecutors said.

December 10, 2022, 6:38 PM

A rally calling for justice for Shanquella Robinson, the American woman who died while vacationing in Mexico in what local authorities are investigating as a femicide, was held Saturday in her hometown.

Robinson, 25, of Charlotte, North Carolina, died in October while on a trip with six friends to San Jose del Cabo, a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Those who spoke during the event, held at Little Rock AME Zion Church in Charlotte, included family friends and local leaders who said they stood in solidarity with Robinson's family as they grapple with their daughter's death amid the ongoing investigation.

"I'm going to be honest -- this is tough. This is hard," Braxton Winston, Charlotte's mayor pro tem, said in his remarks. "How many words of comfort can you bring to a situation like this?"

"There's so much grief in our community," he said, but told the Robinson family, "I assure you this community will not forget you."

Pat Cotham, the at-large county commissioner for Mecklenburg County, lamented that Robinson's story "was just starting."

"She was just a young woman," Cotham said. "I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious Shanquella."

Family friends remembered Robinson as a charming, strong young woman. A representative for Winston-Salem State University, which Robinson attended, said her "spirit lives on" at the school.

The rally comes several weeks after the funeral service for Robinson.

"There were thousands of people that didn't make it into the services a couple weeks ago, so this is the opportunity to come and show their support with the Robinson family again and to love on them and basically let them know that we stand with them," Mario Black, the founder of Million Youth March of Charlotte, told reporters during a press briefing announcing Saturday's rally. "It's justice for Shanquella Robinson until justice is served."

Questions have mounted amid conflicting reports on what happened in the hours leading up to Robinson's death.

The original autopsy report obtained by ABC News said Robinson died from a severe spinal cord injury and a dislocated neck. According to the document, which was dated Nov. 4, Robinson was found unconscious in the living room of a residence on Padre Kino Avenue in San Jose del Cabo on the afternoon of Oct. 29 and was declared dead within 15 minutes.

That report differs from a recent update from Mexican authorities, who said that Robinson may have been alive and received care from a medical professional for several hours before authorities arrived and she was pronounced dead, ABC News has learned.

PHOTO: Shanquella Robinson
Shanquella Robinson
Courtesy Quilla Long

The medical professional at the scene allegedly told Robinson's friends that Robinson was drunk and dehydrated, and that they should take her to a hospital. However, they declined to do so, according to authorities.

Authorities have not responded to ABC News' request for comment on the difference between their report and the autopsy.

An arrest warrant was issued last month in Robinson's death for the crime of femicide, a form of gender-based violence, according to a local prosecutor. The warrant was issued for an unnamed alleged perpetrator, "a friend of hers who is the direct aggressor," Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, local prosecutor for the state of Baja California Sur, said.

The FBI opened an investigation last month into Robinson's death, though no further details were released due to the ongoing probe.

Robinson went to the Mexican resort city on Oct. 28, according to her family. Robinson's parents said they got a frantic telephone call from their daughter's friends the next day saying she had died from alcohol poisoning.

The Mexican Secretariat of Health's autopsy report and death certificate do not mention alcohol.

With all the new and developing information, Robinson's family is still seeking answers from her friends.

Sallamondra Robinson, the mother of Shanquella Robinson, told ABC News she's happy the FBI has stepped in to help solve her daughter's case so it "won't go in vain."

None of Robinson's friends who were with her in Cabo have responded to ABC News' repeated requests for comment.

ABC News' Erica Y. King, Anne Laurent and Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.