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US tourist’s death in Mexico probed as killing after cops blamed booze

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A North Carolina woman was found dead at a Mexican resort from what authorities initially determined to be alcohol poisoning – but a new video has emerged showing her being assaulted and her death is now being investigated as a violent crime.

Shanquella Robinson, 25, of Charlotte, traveled on Oct. 28 with six friends to the resort city of San José del Cabo, where they stayed at the swanky Fundadores Beach Club, WBTV reported.

The following day, Robinson was found dead at Villa Linda 32, a rental offered by CaboVillas.com, and authorities launched a criminal investigation, according to WSOC-TV.

Her parents soon received a frantic phone call from Robinson’s friends, who told them she had died.

“They said she wasn’t feeling well, that it was alcohol poisoning,” Robinson’s mom, Sallamondra Robinson, told the news outlet.

The family told WBTV that Mexican authorities told them that Shanquella died of alcohol poisoning.

Shanquella Robinson, 25, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was found dead in Mexico, where she was visiting with friends to celebrate a birthday.
Instagram / @shanaquella_robinso
Shanquella Robinson
Her friends told the family that she had suffered alcohol poisoning.
Instagram / @shanaquella_robinso

But the death certificate has revealed that the cause of death was a “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” an instability of the first two neck vertebrae, WSOC reported.

Alcohol was not mentioned in the report, according to the station.

The death certificate lists the time between injury and death as about 15 minutes and notes that Shanquella was found unconscious in the living room.

Death certificate
The Mexican death certificate determined that Robinson died of a “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation.”
WSOC-TV

The mystery has been compounded by a horrific video that emerged allegedly showing Shanquella being beaten inside a hotel room. In the distressing video, someone can be heard asking if she “could at least fight back.”

It was unclear when and where the unverified video was taken, but Sallamondra told WSOC that she recognized the people in the footage as the friends who went to Mexico with her daughter.

The mother also said she believed the video was shot during the fateful trip.

Video of woman being beaten
Viral video has emerged that allegedly shows Robinson being beaten at the hotel.
Video of beating
Robinson’s mother, Sallamondra Robinson, said the people seen in the video are the travel companions.

“It was never a fight. She didn’t fight, they attacked her,” she told the WSOC.

Shanquella’s travel companions, who were not identified by the station, could not be reached, the outlet reported. Four numbers were disconnected and two numbers went to voicemail. Text messages to those numbers were not returned.

On Thursday, the State Attorney General’s Office of Baja California Sur confirmed the autopsy results and said that “an investigation was initiated for femicide,” ABC News reported.

Femicide is considered a hate crime in which a girl or woman is killed because of their gender.

Michael Lettieri, an expert on femicide in that region of Mexico, told WSB-TV that “it is supposed to be investigated in a very particular way that’s sensitive to the gender dynamics of the crime.”

When a woman is killed in Mexico, authorities are often required to launch the investigation as a femicide, he explained, adding that investigators look into whether she was killed because of her gender or if domestic violence was involved.

Lettieri told the outlet that the widespread attention the case has generated could help get the crime solved.

“That it is an American, means there will additional pressure on the Mexican government and the state government to resolve this case and I think that will likely lead to a resolution,” he said.

The devastated parents expressed their frustration at the initial conflicting information and the relief that authorities are pursuing a criminal investigation.

“It’s like a nightmare. I can’t even sleep,” Shanquella father, Bernard Robinson, told WSOC. “I just want some truth because this doesn’t add up right.”

He added: “By the grace of God, I think I am going to get to the bottom of this. God ain’t gonna fail. It’s going to come out. I’m not giving up. I am very confident that I am going to have peace of mind.”

Dead woman's mother, Sallamondra
“She was a good child and had a great heart, and she did not deserve to be treated like that,” Sallamondra said.
WSOC-TV

Sallamondra said she remembers how her daughter, a hard-working business owner, was happy to go to Mexico.

“I looked at some of her posts that she had put up,” she told WSOC. “She was really having a nice time and I don’t know where it went wrong from there.”

Sallamondra told WNCT that the group went to Mexico to celebrate a birthday.

“She told me they had a chef. They were getting ready to eat. They were eating tacos or a salad or something, and I said, ‘OK. I love you. Have a good night, and I will talk to you tomorrow,’” she told the outlet.

“I never talked to my child again. She never made it back home. They said she wasn’t feeling well. She had alcohol poisoning,” the mother said, referring to the friends. “They couldn’t get a pulse. Each one of the people that was there with her was telling different stories.”

Sallamondra Robinson
Sallamondra Robinson is seeking justice for her dead daughter, Shanquella.

Death certificate
The death certificate cites “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” an instability of the first two neck vertebrae.

Shanquella Robinson
Shanquella and her friends were staying at a luxury villa in San José del Cabo.

She said that her daughter’s body is back home but that she has many questions about the death and wants justice to prevail.

“She was a good child and had a great heart, and she did not deserve to be treated like that,” Sallamondra said.

The FBI said it is aware of the footage that has made the rounds in social media and encouraged “anyone with related photos or video to contact” the agency, WTIV reported.

A spokesperson for the FBI’s Charlotte office told ABC News that it has been in touch with the family.

The State Attorney General’s Office of Baja California Sur said the investigation is ongoing and that “to the extent that the legal framework allows it, the results will be informed.”

The US State Department confirmed to WSOC that an American citizen died in Mexico during the time of Shanquella’s trip. But a spokesperson declined to provide additional information, citing respect for the family and privacy.

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The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills

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The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists

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This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
BRIGITTE STELZER

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’

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Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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