The US is weighing an extradition request from Mexico after authorities in the country charged an American woman with murdering another US woman shown being beaten while they vacationed in a viral video.
Prosecutors in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur have not named the suspect in the death of North Carolina’s Shanquella Robinson, who reportedly died of a severe spinal cord or neck injury while on holiday in Mexico on 29 October.
Robinson’s death sparked mass intrigue on social media after a viral video showed her being beaten, apparently by an American woman. Robinson had traveled to San Jose del Cabo with friends, who told Robinson’s family she died from alcohol poisoning.
But a copy of Robinson’s death certificate, obtained by Charlotte news channel WBTV, said the cause of her death was “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation”.
State prosecutors said evidence showed the death resulted from “a direct attack, not an accident”, and involved a female friend of the victim, CNN reported. They said they have approached Mexican federal prosecutors and diplomats to try to get an unnamed female suspect extradited to face charges in Mexico.
Robinson’s death shocked people in both Mexico and the US.
The 25-year-old had arrived in San Jose del Cabo on 28 October and was staying at a vacation rental home with college friends, her father told CNN.
Robinson’s mother, Salamondra Robinson, told CBS News that her daughter’s friends initially said she had become sick with alcohol poisoning.
However, when a video showing Robinson being beaten went viral, in mid-November, it raised suspicions that Robinson may have died at the hands of people with whom she traveled.
The video shows Robinson being thrown to the ground and struck on the head. In the footage 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.
Salamondra Robinson confirmed to CBS News that it was her daughter in the video, adding that a man on the trip “supposedly was her best friend”.
“And he had went on family trips with us, you know?” Salamondra Robinson added. “And he had been to the family house.”
The group Robinson was traveling with left Mexico after she was found dead.
Local prosecutor Antonio López Rodríguez said the case was being treated as a potential homicide and an arrest warrant had been issued for the suspect, the Associated Press reported.
The attorney general for Baja California Sur, Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, said the death did not result from a “quarrel” but from “a direct aggression that this person made”, according to CNN. De la Rosa Anaya confirmed that the suspect was an American but did not identify her.