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Beating Victim From Northern Ireland Struggles 2 Years Later

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Natasha McShane

Natasha McShane, 24, was brutally beaten with a baseball bat on North Damen Avenue in April 2010. (Credit: CBS)

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(CBS) — A young woman from Northern Ireland who was brutally beaten in a Chicago robbery is still struggling two years later.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, this coming Monday will mark two years since Natasha McShane, 25, was beaten with a baseball bat while walking in the 1800 block of North Damen Avenue, after a night out in the Wicker Park-Bucktown area.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

McShane’s friend, Stacy Starl Jurich, was also brutally attacked.

The alleged assailants, Heriberto Viramontes, 31, and Marcy Cruz, 26, are now charged with two counts each of attempted murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery. They are awaiting trial.

Meanwhile in her native Northern Ireland, McShane’s family is awaiting a miracle. The Chicago Tribune reports McShane still cannot speak, dress herself, or go to the bathroom without help.

Her father, Liam McShane, tells the Tribune that his daughter spends her days sitting in a chair by the window in her family’s living room. On good days, she is able to point out something she wants or smile, but on bad days, she just cries, Liam McShane told the Tribune.

Liam McShane tells the Tribune’s Colleen Mastony that it often seems like Natasha is going to get better, but then the situation actually gets worse.

Since returning home, McShane has been plagued with an infection, a broken hip that has required replacement surgery, and seizures, the Tribune reported.

McShane turned 25 last September. Her father says the family keeps hoping she will get better, because without hope, he tells the Tribune, “you wouldn’t get through it.”

At the time of the attack two years ago, McShane was an exchange student from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, attending the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was also a part-time waitress at Butch McGuire’s tavern on Division Street.

It was 3:30 a.m. when McShane and Jurich were attacked as they walked home from a Wicker Park bar. The alleged assailants had come to Bucktown with the intention of robbing someone because Viramontes needed quick money and drugs, and Cruz allegedly suggested targeting the “drunk a**holes coming out of the bar,” prosecutors said after the defendants were charged.

Viramontes allegedly bludgeoned McShane and Jurich with the baseball bat and took their purses. Following the attack, McShane was placed on a ventilator and into a drug-induced coma.

The city held fund-raisers to help her family with mounting medical costs here. And by July 2010, when she left for home to continue treatment, Natasha was talking, walking and eating with assistance.

But her family said she suffered a setback following an operation to replace part of her skull that fall. By April of last year, she was wheelchair-bound and barely spoke, Chicago-based family spokesman John Colbert said at the time.

Meanwhile, Viramontes has been hit with additional charges since he has been held awaiting trial, for allegedly conspiring with his girlfriend to smuggle marijuana into Cook County Jail.

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