The FBI has launched an investigationof an American woman in Mexico who was seen being assaulted in a cellphone video that went viral.
The FBI confirmed in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday that it had “opened an investigation” into the death of Shanquella Robinson of Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to the FBI statement, the death occurred “on or about” October 29 in Cabo San Lucas. Mexican authorities said last week that the death occurred in San Jose del Cabo, located about 20 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas. Both are located in the state of Baja California Sur.
In a Nov. 17 statement, Mexican prosecutors said they were investigating the death of a woman, whom they identified only as a foreigner, at a resort in San Jose del Cabo. At the time, however, a Mexican state official who was not authorized to be named by name confirmed that the victim was Robinson. The manager confirmed that the group she was traveling with had since left Mexico.
Video apparently recorded at a luxury villa in San Jose del Cabo shows a woman, apparently an American, beating another woman.
The video has been reposted several times on social media. In it, a man with an American accent is heard saying “Can you at least fight back?” The man did not appear to intervene in the beating.
Mexican prosecutors said police found Robinson dead at the villa on October 29.
Shanquella’s mother, Salamondra Robinson, told CBS News in an interview last week that investigators in Mexico are looking into her daughter’s death as murder.
“I was glad to hear that,” she said.
Salamondra said Shanquella’s friends first told her she fell ill from alcohol poisoning. But later she learned there had been a fight and an autopsy revealed she had spinal cord and neck injuries.
The autopsy showed “her death had nothing to do with alcohol,” Salamondra said.
Mexican officials said they could not confirm the cause of death as it was part of an ongoing investigation.
When Salamondra saw the video, she said she knew it was her daughter. This raised questions about why no one intervened in the alleged beating, or why the people she was traveling with allegedly beat her.
“She wasn’t fighting anybody. She didn’t even have a chance,” Salamondra said. “No one tried to stop him.”
The group Shanquella was traveling with was made up of people she had gone to college with, Salamondra said.
“One of the guys was supposed to be his best friend,” she said. “And he had been on family trips with us, you know? And he had been to the family home.”
Salamondra said she hasn’t seen him since she got the autopsy results. She said she hoped she could get more answers about what happened to her daughter, who she described as having “a heart of gold”.
“She loved everyone. She didn’t mistreat anyone. Ever. No one could ever say anything bad about her because she was a good person,” Salamondra said.