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On a chilly Saturday afternoon, the family and surrounding West Charlotte community laid to rest the body of 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson.
Three weeks earlier, on Oct. 28, six friends traveled to the resort city of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico to celebrate a birthday, but less than 24 hours later Shanquella would be pronounced dead.
Now, her family is still trying to figure out how and why their loved one is no longer with them. To date, when speaking about how the group explained what happened, her mother, Salamondra said, “each one of the people that was there with her was telling different stories.”
Information has been slow to trickle in, however, new video was later released this week which shows Shanquella in good spirits just hours before her life was gone.
Shanquella Robinson death certificate
A copy of her death certificate, obtained by CNN affiliate WBTV, lists the cause of death as “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” which is instability or excessive movement in the uppermost neck vertebrae. The document states she was found unconscious in the living room of the rental residence on October 29. The death certificate classified Robinson’s death as “accidental or violent,” noting that the approximate time between injury and death was 15 minutes.
Prosecutors in the state of Baja California Sur said in a statement they are investigating the death.
A state official who was not authorized to be quoted by name confirmed the victim was Shanquella Robinson. The official confirmed that the group she had been traveling with had since left Mexico.
The FBI confirmed to USA TODAY that its field office in Charlotte, North Carolina has opened an investigation into Robinson’s death. FBI’s Charlotte division confirmed she was a resident of the city but declined to comment further.
As speculation runs rampant, the man whose birthday the group went to celebrate refutes that she was found dead, but rather unresponsive, among other alleged details which he counters. Throughout the video, he distances himself from direct involvement in her murder while speaking to his social media followers.
Family mourns beloved daughter of Charlotte
Things never added up to her mother, Sallamondra. She had just talked to her daughter on Friday evening before her daughter was going to dinner with the group. Hours later, she was no longer alive.
With so much still unknown, the family is left to mourn the memory of Shanquella Robinson without the closure of knowing exactly what happened to her.
“How could they do this to my baby?” Robinson’s father, Bernard, told . “They all need to be in jail right now in Mexico and they shouldn’t have been let go.” He later told TMZ, “They attacked her. They put a hole in my heart. That was my only child. I thought she’d be burying me. Not me burying her.”
Robinson’s sister, Quilla Long, said she “fell to her knees” when she first heard the news of her sister. She called the video of the attack “sickening.”
As the upsetting details slowly unfold, her family has since made a GoFundMe page. On Friday, it was supported by many, including Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving who donated a total of $65,000.
Details emerge surrounding Shanquella Robinson death
According to her sister, Quilla Long, “Her associates claimed she died of alcohol poisoning, but the death certificate from the Mexican government contradicts this statement as it reveals a broken neck and cracked spine and a time of death which is 15 minutes after she sustained these injuries.”
Long continued, “The United States State Department released a statement claiming ‘no clear evidence of foul play,’ yet there is a video circulating of a woman violently attacking Shanquella. This statement is unacceptable, and we are beyond devastated. We continue to fight for the truth.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) said they are not involved at all in the investigation.
As CMPD controlled the flow of incoming traffic outside the Saturday funeral, on the inside a slow and steady stream of people came to pay their respects and offer condolences.
In a winding line which wrapped wrapped around her home church, Macedonia Baptist Church, on Saturday, The Black Wall Street Times joined mourners for Shanquella Robinson’s home going service.
At the family’s request, video and photos of the service were kept private.
During the service, church fans dried the falling tears of the Shanquella Robinson family and the West Charlotte community at large. As a graduate of the historic West Charlotte High School, Shanquella was known for glowing-up little girls in and around the predominantly and historically Black community. As an expert hair-braider, it was important for her to raise the esteem and confidence of those who looked like her.
An alumnus of Winston Salem State University, Shanquella was a proud Ram, majoring in nursing and business at the Historically Black University.
Tamika Mallory of Until Freedom spoke of her commitment to the Shanquella Robinson family and bringing justice to a life who all acknowledge was taken far too soon.
The somber reality of the family and community’s sudden loss was palpable, yet, like a southern Black church is known to do — there was still church had. In a soul-stirring unified selection of “The Battle Is Not Yours,” the spirit filled the room and men, women, and children held each other, many in mourning and others in uplifted praise.
Baptized at the age of 5 at Macedonia Baptist Church, a friend of the family said, “Shanquella had light. She walked with light in her.”
Afterwards, a devastated friend of Shanquella’s mother said, “all you need to know is she had two beautiful parents, and she was a beautiful girl.”
A diamond crown fit for a Queen adorned Shanquella Robinson’s head as flowers petals were dropped and a horse drawn chariot carried her away.
Black girls and women go missing, are trafficked, and suspiciously die at alarming rates, but it isn’t often reflected in national news coverage of such cases. Though Shanquella’s story has reached many near and far, the lack of live major media presence on a story of such international implications is an unfortunate reminder of why so many Black female victims are often forgotten — or worse — never known.
The Black Wall Street Times has reached out to authorities in Mexico for comment, however, no communication had been returned at the time of this article’s publication.