Natasha’s fight for life continues

May 4, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Silverbridge woman, Natasha McShane, remains in a critical condition in a Chicago hospital almost ten days after she was attacked in a street mugging in the city.

The 23-year-old student continues to fight for her life as doctors battle to treat the extensive head injuries she suffered in the no-warning attack.

Natasha and her American friend Stacy Jurich were returning home from a night out when they were set upon by a man wielding an aluminium baseball bat.  Both women were struck repeatedly about the head before being robbed of their handbags.  Natasha, however, bore the brunt of the April 23rd attack, suffering massive head trauma.

Since then her life has hung in the balance, having suffered a fractured skull and swelling to the brain.  She has remained on a ventilator and in a drug-induced coma since.

Her parents, Liam and Sheila, travelled to be with their eldest daughter and continue to maintain their bedside vigil, willing their daughter to respond to them.

On Tuesday Natasha was transferred to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, one of the country’s top hospitals, which specialises in treating the type of injuries she sustained.

In the past days, doctors have begun to reduce the amount of sedative she is receiving.  It’s believed Natasha has shown some positive signs as a result of this procedure.  Doctors have described this as ‘more hopeful’ but suggest her recovery will be slow and prolonged and it is expected she will require extensive rehabilitation treatment.


The anger and revulsion at this senseless attack has reverberated across the United States and Ireland, and has deeply affected the community in Silverbridge and the wider area.  The McShane family are well-known and respected and Natasha has many friends in the locality who have described her as loving, bright and bubbly.

The family has been inundated with messages from well wishers who have telephoned and called to offer their support and prayers.

A special recovery and healing Mass will be celebrated for Natasha tonight (Monday) at 8.00pm in St. Brigid’s Church, Glassdrummond.  Natasha’s friends and the wider community are invited to join with her family on this occasion to pray for her recovery.

Natasha’s grandmother, Bernadette, says the family at home continues to wait and hope for good news.

Natasha’s friends have set up a website to offer support to her family and to update the public on her progress.

The site also provides information on how to make donations to the ‘Natasha McShane Care Account’ which is hoped will help towards her medical expenses as she recovers.  On Saturday a benefit dance was held in a Chicago bar to aid the appeal.  For more information log on to


Meanwhile, a man and a woman have been charged with the brutal attack.

Heriberto Viramontes appeared in court on Wednesday charged with aggravated battery and armed robbery.   It’s believed he is since being held in solitary confinement for his own protection

His partner and co-accused, Marcy Cruz, came before the court on Thursday to face the same charges.  The pair were arrested after being captured on CCTV allegedly using a credit card belonging to Natasha.  Detectives tracked the women’s stolen mobile phones, leading to Cruz’s home where the white van, a baseball bat and objects belonging to the women, including Natasha’s passport, were found.

McShane family notice

The family of Natasha McShane would like to extend an invitation to Natasha’s friends and the wider community to a Mass for Natasha’s healing and recovery.

Mass will be held this evening (Bank Holiday

Monday May 3rd) at 8.00pm in St. Brigid’s Church, Glassdrummond.