When Salamondra Robinson last spoke to her daughter on the phone, Shanquella Robinson was on a vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The 25-year-old hairdresser from Charlotte, North Carolina, went on the October 28 trip with a group of seven friends to celebrate someone’s birthday, according to Salamondra. Queen City News reported that the group stayed at Villa Linda 32, a property listed on cabovillas.com. “They had a villa, and they stayed there all night,” Salamondra told Queen City News. “They didn’t go out at all.”
According to Salamondra, Shanquella talked to her mother before dinner on Friday, the first night of their trip. “She told me they had a chef,” Salamondra said. “They were getting ready to eat. They were eating tacos or a salad or something, and I said, ‘OK. I love you. Have a good night, and I will talk to you tomorrow.” But Salamondra never talked to Shanquella again. Less than 24 hours later, her 25-year-old daughter was dead. And now, she’s demanding answers from the people who were with her.
According to a spokesperson from the lodging site, the vacation group arrived on Friday and called for medical help on Saturday afternoon. A concierge alerted a doctor, who gave Shanquella CPR but could not revive her. Less than 15 minutes later, the official time of death was declared at 3 p.m, Queen City News reports. But in the days since her daughter’s death, Salamondra said Shanquella’s friends have given her conflicting accounts about what happened to Shanquella. “They said she wasn’t feeling well,” she recalled. “They couldn’t get a pulse. Each one of the people that were there with her was telling different stories.”
Rolling Stone reached out to Shanquella’s family, several of the friends linked to the Cabo trip, as well as representatives for Cabo Villas. None of the parties involved immediately responded to our request for comment.
Shanquella’s friends reportedly told Salamondra that her daughter’s cause of death was alcohol poisoning. But the mother said that the FBI and Mexican authorities told her a different story.
“When the autopsy came back, they said it didn’t have anything to do with the alcohol,” Salamondra said. “[They] said that she had a broken neck and her spine in the back was cracked. She had been beaten.”
According to Queen City News, an autopsy done on Shanquella listed the cause of death as severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation. When reached for comment, a spokesperson from the U.S State Department confirmed a citizen had died in Cabo but had no further comment about whether the incident was potentially being investigated for foul play.
As the family searches for answers, a video has begun to circulate online that brings up more questions. Published first by a North Carolina blog, video footage of a fight allegedly between Shanquella and a female friend shows a naked woman being punched, while someone out of frame tells “Quella” to fight back. The blog identified several friends they claimed were on the Cabo trip with Shanquella at the time of her death. One man, identified by the blog as Nazeer Wiggins, said that he was a part of the Cabo trip but denied the blog’s claim that he was responsible for her death. Wiggins posted on Instagram that he arrived in Cabo after the group asked for medical attention. “HOW TF AM I COVERING UP SOMETHING IM JUST AS BLIND AS YALL ABOUT!” he wrote in an Instagram story Tuesday night. “I WENT TO ENJOY MY BIRTHDAY AND IN RETURN GOT THE WORSE DAY OF MY LIFE.”
While Shanquella’s family waits to learn more, a growing online response is urging police to look into her death further, pointing out inconsistencies between her friends’ statements and her autopsy. The response mirrors outrage from other publicized (and controversial) deaths of Black women like Tamla Horsford, Lauren Smith Field, and Kenneka Jenkins. In each of the cases, the circumstances around the women’s deaths were murky, and responses from police and law enforcement were criticized as muted and lackluster compared to the energy that constantly surrounds high-profile cases of white women.
Salamondra told Queen City News that she will keep looking for answers. “She had a heart of gold. She loved everybody, and pretty much everybody loved her,” Salmondra said. “I know that’s not going to bring my child back, but I want something done about it.”