Shanquella Robinson would have been 26 on Monday, Jan. 9 however, instead of turning up and blowing candles out, her family was releasing balloons at her grave site last Sunday.
It’s been almost three months since Shanquella’s tragic death and her family is still looking for answers and an arrest. Her mother, Salamondra Robinson, remembered the 25 birthdays she did get to spend with her daughter. “She would tell you what she wanted for her birthday and that’s what we’d go buy,” her mother told The Charlotte Observer. “She’s smiling down on us.”
Shanquella’s death drew national attention after she was found unresponsive on Oct. 29 while on vacation with friends in Cabo, Mexico. A viral video circulated on social media of a person, believed to be Robinson, being beaten by an accompanying person on the trip. Another person on the trip with her called for help, and a doctor gave Shanquella CPR but was unable to revive her. Less than 15 minutes later, she was declared dead at 3 p.m.
Mario Black of the Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury told The Charlotte Observer that Shanquella won’t properly “rest” until justice is served. “I want to see justice served for this family and for her, so she can rest.”
The FBI and authorities in Mexico have both launched investigations. Officials in Baja California Sur, Mexico said that an arrest warrant has been issued and femicide charges filed against an unnamed female suspect. However, since then, there’s been no confirmation of any of her travel partners being in custody or even been processed for extradition from the United States.
Police records obtained by The Charlotte Observer, including a Spanish to English-translated death certificate, and the stories her family heard from Robinson’s travel companions, conflict on how Robinson died. Her mother said those on the trip with her claimed “she wasn’t feeling well” or she had alcohol poisoning. The reports listed the the cause of death as severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation.
In the meantime, loved ones are left with final memories of the Charlotte-based hair stylist. Robinson’s cousin, Patrice McMurray, was texting Robinson while she was away in Mexico. She said her death “still doesn’t feel real.” McMurray said she is confident that justice will be served for her cousin, and is happy supporters are still saying her name. “This shows she’s having an impact even though she’s physically not here.”
Several new outlets including the Rolling Stone and The Charlotte Observer have been unable to reach those that were on the trip with Shanquella. Some have since deactivated social media accounts and email addresses.