The family of Shanquella Robinson, the North Carolina tourist who died mysteriously at a Mexican resort, say they’re still waiting for word of an arrest in her murder — as experts warned there likely will be “political” hurdles extraditing a suspect from the US.
Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant two weeks ago for an unnamed suspect in the 25-year-old woman’s Oct. 29 death, which was determined to be from a “direct attack.”
But since the warrant was issued, a so-called red notice from Interpol had still not been issued for the suspect — though Mexican authorities have requested that the person be extradited from the US to face charges, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The two countries have a 1978 extradition treaty in place.
The US Justice Department is investigating the request, which will eventually be forwarded to the State Department for final approval, according to the paper.
What happens next is more of a “political issue” than a legal one, criminal defense lawyer Dmitriy Shakhnevich, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, told the Observer.
“More often than not,” the US will comply with an extradition request from a country with which it has a treaty.
“If the authorities here in the US deem it appropriate, then they will pursue the people for whom the arrest warrant was issued,” Shakhnevich told the paper.
“And then those people will engage in a legal process here in the US, which involves going through the federal courts and then ultimately appealing (the extradition decision) … to the secretary of state,” he added.
Before US authorities arrest someone wanted in another country, the FBI will investigate to determine if there is “sufficient cause” for the suspect to be extradited, the news outlet reported.
But determining cause doesn’t mean the bureau will investigate and double-check Mexico’s criminal probe.
“But again, the whole purpose of the treaty is so one country doesn’t really question the other, right,” Shakhnevich explained. “The treaty means that we are understanding of each other’s legal processes such that if we come to a decision, then that decision must be abided by.”
The FBI has confirmed that an investigation is ongoing but did not release any details.
Robinson’s death at the swanky Fundadores Beach Club in San José del Cabo was originally thought to be alcohol poisoning, but a death certificate revealed she had suffered a “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” an instability of neck vertebrae.
A disturbing video later emerged of Robinson being savagely beaten at the luxury rental villa by one of the women in a group of friends who accompanied her to Mexico.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment to the Observer on whether it would extradite the suspect.
“As a matter of longstanding practice, the department does not comment on extradition matters,” the State Department told the Observer earlier.
“The department does not provide confirmation of or commentary on investigations due to privacy and law enforcement considerations,” it said, adding that it was “closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation.”
The local new outlet MetropliMx has reported — based on an unnamed source — that one person on the trip with Robinson has been held in the US.
The Observer said it found no confirmation that the person rumored to be the suspect has been detained or placed under arrest.
Meanwhile, a rally organized by Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury is planned for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Little Rock AME Zion Church in uptown Charlotte, WCNC reported.
On Wednesday, the slain woman’s sister, Quilla Long, explained what she hopes will happen.
“Everybody being arrested and doing time there. That’ll be justice for us,” she told the news outlet.
“The way she left us shouldn’t have ever happened,” Mario Black, the founder of Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury, told WCNC.
“I just want everybody to leave with a sense of hope, unity and love. Love is the key, it conquers all,” he added.