I like to do a column for Thanksgiving and give a suggestion for a topic that should be discussed around the dinner table. This year is no exception, although the subject this year is better suited to an after-dinner discussion.
Black folks have really gotten into traveling. And the ages they are going on cruises and traveling to foreign countries is younger than ever. Seven people went on vacay to Cabo, Mexico to celebrate one of their birthdays on Friday, Oct. 28: three men, Khalil Cooke, Nazeer Wiggins, Malik Dyer, and four women, Alyese Hyatt, Wenter Donovan, Daejhanae Jackson, and Shanquella Robinson. Less than 24 hours later, Shanquella, 25, was dead, and the six “friends” returned home to Charlotte, North Carolina earlier than originally planned, leaving her body in Mexico.
Shanquella’s mom was given her daughter’s luggage and varying accounts of the alleged reasons why her daughter is dead. One consistent theme among the group was that the cause is alleged to have been from alcohol poisoning, which even the Mexican authorities initially claimed as well. Not buying their stories, Mrs. Robinson had the body returned and a private autopsy performed. The report found that Shanquella suffered from a spinal cord injury as well as a broken neck.
Shanquella’s family also had been hearing rumors of a fight going on while the group was in Mexico. And sure enough, a video surfaced showing Shanquella allegedly being brutally pummeled by a person who professes to be female but may be transgender. A second video was leaked and in it another of the “friends” is alleged to have grabbed Shanquella by the neck and slung her to the ground. With the first video, the man recording it is also being recorded by a second person.
The six “friends” are now being trolled over social media. Their names, social media accounts, phone numbers, addresses and work places have been published online, which caused them to either delete their accounts or make them private. Some have also had to change their cellphone numbers. The six are getting death threats.
Initially the authorities here and in Mexico were dismissive of the case. But growing pressure, especially from amateur sleuths, have pointed out so many inconsistencies in the facts surrounding Shanquella’s death that the FBI and Mexican authorities had to take notice. I hope the six “friends” are tried in Mexico with the possibility of ending up in a Mexican prison. Other countries’ justice systems don’t coddle prisoners like America does.
With “friends” like these, who needs enemies? This case reminds me of the death from over five years ago of Kenneka Jenkins whose friends brought her car back to her mother, but not her. She was later found dead in a hotel freezer. Or Tamla Horsford, who attended a slumber party and whose body was found “bruised and badly beaten,” yet her death was ruled “accidental.”
My granny always said, “Be careful who your friends are!” No truer words have ever been spoken!