No US Charges in Woman's Mysterious Death in Mexico

Shanquella Robinson's family says they're not giving up
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2023 2:15 AM CDT
Feds Won't File Charges in US Woman's Mysterious Death on Mexican Vacation
Stock photo of the shoreline in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.   (Getty Images/Justin Bartels)

There will be no federal charges regarding the mysterious death of an American woman in Mexico last year, US prosecutors told the family of Shanquella Robinson on Wednesday. "Based on the results of the autopsy and after a careful deliberation and review of the investigative materials by both US Attorneys’ Offices, federal prosecutors informed Ms. Robinson’s family today that the available evidence does not support a federal prosecution," the feds said in a press release cited by CNN. Robinson, 25, of North Carolina, was on a trip with friends when she died; those friends initially reported to her family that she had suffered alcohol poisoning. But a Mexican death certificate listed her death as "accidental or violent," citing the cause as "severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation," or excessive movement in the uppermost neck vertebrae.

Video also surfaced on social media showing Robinson being beaten inside a hotel room by another woman as other people looked on; it's not clear whether anyone intervened, what led up to the altercation, or whether it was related to Robinson's death. But Mexican authorities ended up declaring Robinson's death a femicide and issuing an arrest warrant for one of Robinson's female traveling companions, identified by Fox News and other outlets as Daejhanae Jackson. Mexico issued an extradition request for her, but it's not clear whether the US is cooperating. On receiving the news that no federal charges would be brought in the case, Robinson's family says it is "very deeply disappointed" but "not deterred" and will continue to fight for justice, according to their lawyer.

"Black and brown people always have to carve their own path to justice," their lawyer said at a press conference. She added, per BuzzFeed News, "United States citizens cannot go to Mexico, commit a crime that we all saw on a video, and then come back to America and say, ‘We’re on base. We’re safe. We’re not going to be charged with a crime.' That cannot be the message that the US authorities want to send." Also complicating matters is the fact that an autopsy conducted in the US after Robinson had already been embalmed and brought back home found swelling on the brain, but no spinal cord injury. The cause of death was undetermined. The family lawyer criticized the "delay" in the US investigating Robinson's death properly. (More Mexico stories.)

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