The lawyer for the family of an American woman who mysteriously died in Mexico this past fall is blasting the FBI’s alleged “lack of transparency” in the case, noting the agency refuses to release the autopsy results to them after declining to press charges.
Shanquella Robinson, 25, was found dead in a hotel room in Cabo San Lucas on Oct. 29.
The North Carolina native’s death was initially attributed to alcohol poisoning, but authorities said an autopsy later revealed she suffered from a broken neck and other trauma.
A disturbing video showed one of Robinson’s friends allegedly beating her shortly before her body was found.
Robinson’s family says that they want access to the autopsy results themselves.
In an interview with The US Sun this week, family lawyer Sue-Ann Robinson, who is not a relative, said the clothing designer’s loved ones are growing increasingly frustrated with US authorities’ lack of action in the case.
“The family is deeply disappointed,” she told the outlet.
“They’re concerned, obviously, about the red flags and the lack of transparency in the investigation, but they’re not deterred.”
In November, Mexican authorities announced they were investigating Robinson’s death as a homicide and issued arrest warrants for at least one of the “Cabo Six,” or the six friends she traveled to the resort with just a day before her death.
Then in April, the FBI announced it would not pursue charges against any of the friends because of a lack of evidence. Sue-Ann now alleges the agency refuses to give the autopsy report to Robinson’s family.
“The FBI says, ‘We cannot release the documents [autopsy results] to you because the case is still open, because we are waiting for documents to be translated to English that we received from the Mexican authorities,’ ” she said.
“Which again, red flags everywhere because you’ve made a decision in the case, you’ve announced the decision publicly to the family and to the public, but you’re saying the case is still not closed and admitting that some of the documents from the investigative file that arguably would affect your decision to charge have not been fully translated.”
Sue-Ann said Robinson’s family plans to travel to Washington, DC, on May 19 to mark 200 days since her death.
“There should be a level of urgency, a level of prioritization by the US authorities that just isn’t there yet,” she said.
“We all saw what happened on the video, and we are demanding that US authorities step in and prioritize the case and allow the extradition process to flow, allow Mexican authorities to prosecute the person they’ve identified as the aggressor in Mexican courts.”
In March, the heartbroken family’s legal team wrote a lengthy letter to President Biden demanding that the “direct aggressor” in the beating video be extradited to face charges in Mexico.
“Because we need a high level of diplomatic intervention, we sent the correspondence to the highest diplomats in our country,” Sue-Ann said at the time.
Sue-Ann also recently traveled to Mexico to look into the investigation. She told the Sun that the initial probe is completed and that an extradition packet has been presented to the US government.
“It was a surreal experience in the sense that I’ve been an attorney for almost 17 years. I’m a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney. … I have never had to physically go to another country to investigate on behalf of any family,” she said.
“So it was unreal in that regard because the lengths that this family has had to go through while trying to grieve a loved one but also seek justice on behalf of the loved one at the same time … it’s a very heavy burden.”
In response to Sue-Ann’s statements, the FBI directed the Sun to a statement from mid-April in which it said the circumstances around Robinson’s death had been “a priority” for officials.
Sue-Ann noted that Robinson’s family is still holding out hope that justice will be served, either in Mexico or stateside.
“There’s still a path to justice, and the family recognizes that,” she said.