The FBI has launched an investigation into the death last month of a U.S. woman in Mexico who was seen being assaulted in a cell phone video which went viral.
The FBI confirmed in a statement to CBS News Tuesday that it has “opened an investigation” into the death of Shanquella Robinson of Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to the FBI statement, the death occurred “on or about” Oct. 29 in Cabo San Lucas. Mexican authorities last week said the death occurred in San Jose del Cabo, which is 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, who they identified only as a foreigner, at a resort development in San Jose del Cabo. At the time, however, a Mexican state official who was not authorized to be quoted by name confirmed the victim was Robinson. The official confirmed that the group she had been traveling with had since left Mexico.
A video apparently taped at a luxury villa in San Jose del Cabo shows one woman, apparently an American, beating another woman.
The video has been reposted many times on social media sites. In it, a man with an American accent can be 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 Oct. 29.
Shanquella’s mother, Salamondra Robinson, told CBS News in an interview last week that investigators in Mexico were looking into her daughter’s death as a murder.
“I was glad to hear that,” she said.
Salamondra said she was initially told by Shanquella’s friends that she had gotten sick with alcohol poisoning. But later on, she learned there was a fight, and an autopsy found she had injuries to her spinal cord and neck.
The autopsy showed that “her death had nothing to do with alcohol,” Salamondra said.
Mexican officials said they could not confirm the cause of death because it was part of an ongoing investigation.
When Salamondra saw the video, she said she knew it was her daughter. It raised questions about why nobody intervened in the purported beating, or why people she was traveling with would have beaten her.
“She was not fighting nobody back. She didn’t even have a chance,” Salamondra said. “No one tried to stop it.”
The group Shanquella was traveling with were people she went to college with, Salamondra said.
“One of the guys supposedly was her best friend,” she said. “And he had went on family trips with us, you know? And he had been to the family house.”
Salamondra said she hadn’t seen him since she got the autopsy results. She said she hopes she can get more answers about what happened to her daughter, whom she described as having “a heart of gold.”
“She loved everybody. She didn’t mistreat nobody. Never. No one could possibly ever say anything bad about her because she was a good person,” Salamondra said.
In: Mexico Murder