Plano Mom Assaulted in Mexico, Friends Want Justice

Laurie Burkes has been in a coma since March 15

By Catherine Ross
|  Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013  |  Updated 9:11 PM CDT
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Laurie Burkes is back on Texas soil recovering at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano after she was brutally attacked in Playa del Carmen.

Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter

Laurie Burkes is back on Texas soil recovering at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano after she was brutally attacked in Playa del Carmen.

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Friends and family members of a Plano single mother say they’re demanding justice, after 45-year-old Laurie Burkes was brutally assaulted at her condo in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

“She’s fighting for her life right now,” said daughter Lauren Burkes. “She did not deserve this, nobody deserves this.”

Emily Van der Gryp, Burkes’ friend of more than a decade, says she was visiting Burkes’ at her Mexico condo over spring break.

She says she returned from the beach on March 15 to find Burkes lying on the ground, barely responsive.

“As I got closer, I noticed the blood on the floor underneath her head,” Van der Gryp said. “She was gasping for air.”

Burkes was transported to a hospital in Mexico. Within the past week, friends had her airlifted back to North Texas.

Burkes is now being treated at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, though her family says it was difficult to find a hospital to accept Burkes as a patient, given that her insurance had recently lapsed.

Van der Gryp says Burkes has started to respond, showing signs she’s coming out of a medically induced coma, though the battle is far from over.

“She’s been on a ventilator since the 15th, she’s not been able to breathe on her own,” Van der Gryp said.

In the meantime, family and friends are rallying for justice, saying they believe Burkes is the victim of a brutal attack.

Van der Gryp filed a police report with authorities in Mexico and friends have also reached out to the FBI and U.S. Consulate in Mexico with hopes of tracking down Burkes’ attacker.

Until Burkes' attacker is located, her friends and family have set up a Facebook page as well as a site to encourage donations to help with Burkes’ medical expenses.

The family wants to locate Italian national Francesco Di Maggion who is directly connected to the attack, according the initial police report filed by Van der Gryp.

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