CHARLOTTE — It’s been months since Mexican authorities announced that an arrest warrant was issued for a friend of Shanquella Robinson after her death in Cabo San Lucas. Now, an attorney representing Robinson’s family says they need diplomatic intervention from the U.S. government in order to move the case forward.
Robinson was killed in late October while vacationing in Mexico, according to a Mexican prosecutor who told ABC News on Nov. 23 that a friend of Robinson’s was “the direct aggressor” in her death, which was officially called a “femicide.”
That friend hasn’t been publicly identified, but a video surfaced showing a woman attacking Robinson inside a hotel room. Sallamondra Robinson, Shanquella’s mother, previously identified the people in the video as the friends her daughter accompanied on the trip to Cabo. Robinson is from Charlotte, and many of the people on the trip were from North Carolina.
At first, friends told Robinson’s family she died of alcohol poisoning, but the autopsy showed she died of a broken neck and spine. Channel 9 obtained Robinson’s death certificate. It lists the cause of death as “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” and says she died within 15 minutes of injury. Alcohol poisoning is never mentioned.
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Channel 9 checked in with Baja California Sur Attorney General Daniel de la Rosa Anaya in January, who said that Robinson’s death investigation was ongoing. De la Rosa Anaya said his office is working with U.S. authorities. His investigators asked the U.S. for interviews with the other people who went on the trip to determine if they should face charges, as well.
On Wednesday, Channel 9′s Joe Bruno sat down Sue-Ann Robinson, the attorney who’s representing the Robinson family, after she just returned from Mexico to see where the case stands. (Editor’s note: There’s no relation between the family and their attorney.)
The attorney said one of her biggest takeaways is how difficult it is to get information and make inquiries about the case in Mexico.
“We weren’t greeted by the consulate and taken to the attorney general’s office, we kind of had to make our way in order to get the information,” Robinson told Channel 9. “We did not receive any assistance from [the Consulate], despite their knowledge of the protocols and Mexico that the attorney general would require the consulate to be involved because it is a crime involving a U.S. citizen.”
Ultimately, the attorney was able to get information from the Mexican attorney general, who said they had completed their investigation and prepared an extradition packet. That extradition information was forwarded to U.S. authorities, and the attorney says they’re essentially “waiting for our government to do the next steps in the process.”
“So what’s taking so long? Is it just red tape?” Joe Bruno asked.
“It is a unique case in that this extradition process is requiring the United States to essentially turn over a United States citizen or citizens to the Mexican government in order to be brought to justice under their criminal justice system,” the attorney said. “But it’s not something that’s unprecedented or that lacks a protocol for it to be done, it just takes a high-level diplomatic intervention.
“Someone has to come forward and say, ‘You know what, I’ll be the one that’s responsible to talk to the Mexican government and make sure that extradition is happening, that the protocols and everything that’s in place to effectuate something like this is happening in a timely manner.’ And based on what I’ve seen so far, and based on what the family is being advised, it’s just not being done.”
The family’s attorney says they’ll be going to Washington, D.C., on Friday to rally for support. Activists will join Robinson’s family members in calling on the U.S. Department of State to take action.
The State Department wouldn’t talk to Channel 9 about the case, saying they don’t comment on extraditions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation told Joe Bruno that the investigation is still ongoing, and that the agency is working with the Department of Justice.
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