Natasha: ‘remarkable progress’ following transfer home

July 20, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

The grandmother of the Silverbridge student brutally attacked in Chicago three months ago has spoken of her family’s delight after she was transferred home. 

Natasha McShane (23) was moved to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast last weekend where she is said to be making ‘remarkable progress.’

Natasha’s grandmother, Bernadette McShane, says the family is delighted to have her nearer home but added that she still has ‘a long road ahead of her’. Natasha’s parents, Liam and Sheila, – who have maintained a bedside vigil since the April 23rd attack – and her younger sister Caitlin accompanied her on the journey to Belfast.

In a statement, the McShane family said Natasha ‘is just starting out’ on her journey to recovery and thanked everyone who has helped them in any way. “Encouraged and comforted by her family and friends, we are hopeful that Natasha’s progress will soon see her make that final journey back to her home in south Armagh.”

The family paid tribute to the people of Chicago and the communities of south Armagh for the kindness and assistance shown to them. “Natasha has made significant progress since those dreadful, dark days of April when she was left to die under the viaduct on Damen Avenue,” her family said.

“From her initial days at the Illinois Masonic Hospital to her stay at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital and then on to her six weeks of rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), she has bravely endured a long and uncertain journey.

“However, with remarkable courage and spirit, along with state of the art medical treatment and excellent hands-on care, Natasha has achieved remarkable results.”

Natasha is now eating and walking with assistance and can say some words, her family says.  She can also recognise and hug her family and friends.  However, her peripheral vision is impaired and she will need intensive therapy to help her recover speech and understanding. She is currently recovering from scheduled surgery on her skull, which she underwent on Wednesday evening.

Natasha had been studying at the University of Illinois on an exchange programme and had been walking home from a night out with her friend Stacy Jurich when they were attacked in the Bucktown area of Chicago.

Both girls were struck repeatedly on the head with a metal baseball bat. Ms Jurich was released from hospital soon after but Natasha suffered severe head injuries and was in a coma for two weeks.

Two people have been charged with the attack.  Heriberto Viramontes, 31, and his alleged accomplice, Marcy Cruz (25) have been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and other offences.


Conor Murphy MP welcomed the news of Natasha’s return. “I am delighted to hear that Natasha is doing so well and making good progress in her recovery.  I wish her well for her future and I commend the dignified manner in which her family have conducted themselves in what must be an extremely worrying and frightening time.  I hope it is not too long before Natasha is back in Silverbridge with the rest of her friends and family,” he said. Councillor Colman Burns added: “The strain placed on the McShane family since this dreadful assault must have been simply dreadful.  It will make a big difference to them now that she is closer to home and I hope it will also impact positively on Natasha’s recovery.  I wish the whole family well on the road ahead.”