in article about death of Shanquella Robinson, illustration of two children on a swingset

The Death of Shanquella Robinson Makes You Ask: Are Your Friends Truly Your Friends? 

After this vacation went very wrong, many have reason to fear their so-called "friends." 
December 12, 2022
8 mins read

TW // Violence, Death

The death of Shanquella Robinson spread on social media platforms like wildfire. 

When the news of her death hit Twitter, people grew increasingly concerned about the way she died. She died from alcohol poisoning while on vacation with her friends in Mexico. And they left her there. 

After further investigation and speculation from Twitter users, videos of her friends recording a fight between Robinson and another friend began to circulate around the internet. She was beaten close to death; her friends could be heard in the background taunting her and telling her to fight back. Robinson was barely clothed; her friends hit her and flung her around the hotel bedroom in Cabo. 

The video sparked outrage and raised suspicion about the true cause of her death. The FBI is currently looking into the case, and they plan to extradite one of Robinson’s friends. An arrest warrant has been issued to one of Robinson’s friends, but authorities have yet to disclose the identity of the suspect. 

Robinson’s autopsy report indicates that she died from a spinal cord injury and dislocated neck. The cause of her death contradicts the original story, as her friends told Robinson’s family that she died from alcohol poisoning.

True Friendship 

Robinson went on vacation with people she thought were her friends, and never came back home. As a college student, she traveled with close friends, some of whom were from her school. When her so-called friends returned to tell her mother what had happened, her mother stated that each of them told a different story, and things did not add up.

Like Robinson’s mother, the case left many parents and students who saw the video heartbroken. Parents couldn’t imagine their children leaving the house and not coming back because of their friends. When children travel and spend time with their friends, it’s expected that they will all take care of each other and have a good time. Not fight with one another until a death occurs. 

True friends are supposed to be there for you and take care of you. They should support you and help you when you’re down. Instead, Robinson’s friends did the complete opposite. All of her friends should be held accountable for her death, as they all played a role in harming her and causing her pain. 

Robinson’s death may leave people questioning whether their friends are truly their friends, as well as considering what their current friends’ true intentions are. It’s terrifying to think that people you trust can turn around and commit something so awful. 

Some have opposed the idea of thinking twice about your friends. One twitter user stated that trust wasn’t the issue, and focusing on Robinson’s actions was a form of victim blaming. 

Shanquella Robinson trusting her “friends” is not the problem. Them killing her and stealing her money IS. Stop victim blaming with the whole “watch out who you call your friend” comments. She did nothing wrong.” 

There are bad people everywhere, so maybe Robinson’s death was truly an accident. Her friends may not have expected her to end up dead from the dispute. They may have possibly panicked once they realized she died and decided to use alcohol poisoning as a cover-up out of fear of the consequences. 

Their actions could be the consequence of groupthink, a mentally whereby individuals will conform and follow the majority instead of doing what’s right. The bystander effect (a phenomenon whereby a group of people won’t take action or stop a wrongdoing because there are multiple people who could’ve stopped the wrongdoing) may also have played a role in their actions.

Robinson’s friends did eventually call for help, and when help arrived they were advised to take her to the hospital. However, they ultimately decided not to. 

So far, only one of her friends has spoken out about the incident. He stated that he arrived after Robinson had passed, and was told that she had died from alcohol poisoning. The rest of her friends who were involved have yet to share an official statement, and it has been noted that some of her friends deleted their social media accounts after the incident occurred. 

Deleting their social media accounts can come off as suspicious. If they truly did nothing wrong, you’d think they’d speak out about what happened and share the truth. 

Social Media

Social media, specifically Black Twitter, played a huge role in giving the case traction. There were many posts that shed light on the case in an attempt to give Robinson justice.

Robinson’s mother made a statement about the impact it has made on the case.  

“I never thought she wouldn’t get justice because we were going to try to go all the way. But I appreciate everything that everybody’s done, however you’ve played a part in it.” 

Robinson’s story also reminded users of the Kenneka Jenkins case, where Jenkins was found dead in the freezer of a hotel. Like Robinson’s mother, Jenkin’s mother found discrepancies in her friend’s story as well. Social media also played a huge role in Jenkin’s case, and users still speculate about what truly happened to her, even though it was decided that no foul play occurred. 

Looking at the bigger picture, when black women and women of color go missing, there’s less media coverage on their cases compared to their white counterparts. For example, when Gabby Petito went missing, there was worldwide media coverage on her case, and many wondered where she went. Missing people of color don’t receive nearly as much coverage. Social media plays a huge role when it comes to the cases of missing people, and Black Twitter has helped bring more traction to the cases of missing black women in the community. 

Robinson’s tragic death left a sour taste within the community, especially when it came to their children and their children’s friends. Knowing who your friends are is important, but as we see with her case, you never know who people truly can be or how they’ll act. 

Chelsie Ross, Florida A&M University

Writer Profile

Chelsie Ross

Otterbein University
Creative Writing

Hello! I’m Chelsie Ross and I enjoy reading and writing. I’m in my fourth year of college and am excited to be writing for Study Breaks magazine! I also enjoy binge watching shows on Netflix.

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