'They All Were Giving Us A Lie': Shanquella Robinson's Sister Speaks Out

Shanquella Robinson’s sister, Tequila Long, said friends lied to her family about the details surrounding the 25-year-old’s death from the very beginning.

via: Essence

The last time Tequila Long saw her sister, Shanquella Robinson, was when Robinson visited her home on the night of October 27, 2022. Robinson was leaving the next day on a group trip with friends to San Jose Del Cabo, a tourist town in the south of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

“She actually came here to borrow a piece of luggage of mine to take on the trip,” Long shares with ESSENCE. “I thought she was going with the people she always traveled with, so it wasn’t any reason for me to have any ill feelings towards her going out of town. I just tell her to be safe.”

Soon after, Long learned that her sister died on the trip.

There were conflicting stories. Long heard that there had been a fight, but she trusted another account from a male friend who said Robinson died of alcohol poisoning.

“I was more believing the dude that she went on the trip with because that was her best friend. So I didn’t think that he would be malicious about anything. I didn’t think that he would tell us a lie. I trusted him. So I took his word for it more than anything, and he said it was alcohol poisoning.”

Eventually, three of Robinson’s friends came to her home in Charlotte, N.C. The sisters’ mom, Salamondra Robinson, was also there.

“They came to meet my mother to talk about the incident that happened in Cabo. The two young ladies, and the male, told us that there wasn’t any type of fighting going on. That they believed what the medic told him, that it was alcohol poisoning. We asked him about the fight because we was hearing from other people that they was out there fighting her, they had jumped on her out there. So they all was giving us a story, a lie, until the video surfaced.”

In November, a video went viral allegedly showing an attack of Robinson while on their Cabo vacation. The family had yet to see the video when the three friends visited her Charlotte home. In the video, a woman is seeing throwing punches repeatedly to another woman’s head. In the background, someone says, “Quella can you at least fight back?”

The friends’ conflicting stories have been compounded by vague reports from authorities. The U.S. State Department reportedly stated that there was no clear evidence of foul play. A death certificate obtained by Queen City News says Robinson died of a “severe spinal cord injury,” and it does not mention alcohol poisoning. In a section addressing whether the death was “accidental or violent,” someone answered “yes.” So it is unclear what authorities meant to select.

“I was livid,” Long shares when asked about her reaction after seeing it. “I was extremely upset. When I saw the video, I automatically yelled. At that moment, I was wishing I was there. I played that video over and over again. They had to wake her up out of her sleep because she sleeps naked. And she was naked standing there, and here she is fighting this girl. And my sister’s like 5’1?, 100 pounds. That image of her didn’t sit well with me.”

Baja California Sur’s prosecutor’s office (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Baja California Sur) has since announced that an arrest warrant has been issued for “femicide.” A representative of the office, who was not authorized to discuss details, told ESSENCE that femicide involves a killing where there is a “relationship between the people,” including friends or spouses.

According to a statement that the state prosecutor’s office released on Facebook last Thursday, the next steps are for national authorities– including Mexico’s Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs– to carry out the extradition process, which involves the U.S. delivering a suspect to Mexican authorities. The state government of Baja California Sur will also continue with their investigation.

As Robinson told ESSENCE, “we’ve been working to make sure that adequate pressure is put on authorities so that a proper investigation is done in this case, because obviously, people that are involved are concealing aspects of the case.”

“A lot of times, people’s first foray into our [legal] system is when they’re a victim of a violent crime or family members are a victim of violent crime, and they don’t know what to do. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as a criminal defense attorney, I know the terrain very well. And I try to just guide the family on what to expect, what to do.”

Robinson also hints at the racial implications of some cases. “We’re aware that the only way to get these cases to move and to get the system to work is that we have to march, we have to rally, we have to cause the conversation to be had so cases can be amplified and there can be transparency in the process.”

Tequila Long states that she is going to miss “the little things” about her sister. “Conversations, text messages, how we respond to each other when she calls. That’s what I’m missing now.”

Robinson, Long shares, was “Outgoing. Well-spoken. [She had] ambition [and was] intelligent, business driven, lovable, respectful, and beautiful inside and out.”

Long hopes that all of those on the trip are “shipped back to Mexico. I want to see them over there doing time, away from their family, trying to learn Spanish. That’s where I want them at.”

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