Mexico issues arrest warrant for US citizen accused of killing her friend while on vacation in San Jose del Cabo
By Rashad Walker, Karol Suarez and Melissa Alonso, CNN
An arrest warrant has been issued in Mexico for a woman suspected of fatally assaulting a friend from North Carolina while on vacation last month in San Jose del Cabo, a prosecutor says.
Shanquella Robinson, 25, was traveling with college friends from Winston-Salem State University when she died while staying in a vacation rental property, said her father, Bernard Robinson.
Robinson, with six friends, arrived October 28 in Mexico, according to a Thursday statement by Mexican prosecutors working on extradition proceedings with their country’s attorney general and Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Evidence shows the death resulted from “a direct attack, not an accident,” and involved a female friend of the victim, the prosecutors said.
Mexican authorities have said the death occurred in San Jose del Cabo. The FBI said it occurred in nearby Cabo San Lucas, and the agency has not answered CNN’s request for comment.
Mexican officials have not named the suspect but confirmed she is a US citizen who is believed to be in the United States. No one has been charged in the case, and authorities have not released the names of Robinson’s friends.
CNN has reached out to the US State Department, FBI and US Justice Department for comment.
The extradition process was underway for the suspect, the attorney general for Mexico’s Baja California Sur, Daniel de la Rosa, told local media Wednesday.
“There is already an arrest warrant issued for the crime of femicide to the detriment of the victim and against an alleged, responsible for these acts, a friend of hers,” de la Rosa said Wednesday.
The death did not result from a “quarrel” but from “a direct aggression that this person made,” de la Rosa said.
“We are already carrying out all the relevant procedures, both the Interpol file and the extradition request,” he said.
The arrest warrant is valid in Mexico, prosecutors said, adding they are in consultation with federal government officials in both countries about the extradition request.
Mexico and the US have a longstanding extradition treaty and a history of cooperation on such matters, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said Friday.
“On the one hand, you could see Mexico engage in the prosecution,” Jackson said. “On the other, we certainly have a statute in the United States that would provide for our government to be involved. … In the event that you go overseas and an American citizen is ultimately killed by another American citizen, there’s a statute that could provide for the prosecution to take place in this country.”
Death was ‘accidental or violent’
Robinson last spoke to her mother, Salamondra, on the phone on the morning of October 28, her father told CNN last week. The next day, Shanquella Robinson was found dead at her vacation rental, US and Mexican authorities said.
The cause of death was “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” which is instability or excessive movement in the uppermost neck vertebrae, states a copy of her death certificate obtained by CNN affiliate WBTV. She was found unconscious in the living room of the rental residence on October 29, the document states.
The death certificate classified Robinson’s death as “accidental or violent,” noting the approximate time between injury and death was 15 minutes.
Video posted online appears to show a physical altercation inside a room between Robinson and another person. It’s not clear when the video was taken or if it depicts the moment she suffered the fatal injury.
It is Robinson seen in the video being thrown to the floor and beaten on the head, Bernard Robinson confirmed to CNN.
It’s unclear what led to the altercation or how many people were in the room at the time. It’s also unclear if anyone tried to intervene.
The FBI Charlotte Field Office has opened an investigation into Shanquella Robinson’s death, it has confirmed.
Her family had been waiting for more information from her friends and Mexican authorities, her father said a week ago.
“You took my only jewel from me,” he told CNN by phone. “You put a big hole in my heart. The only thing I can do is fight for her; I cannot let her die in vain.”
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CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Hannah Sarisohn and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.