Than Htwe died in the hospital on Wednesday after undergoing emergency brain surgery, according to police. The NYC mom was in a coma since July 17, when a botched robbery attempt in a subway left her with severe head trauma. Though doctors told Htwe’s family her death was inevitable, they are still heartbroken.
Htwe and her son, Kyaw Zaw Hein, were on their way to a doctor’s appointment when a robber yanked Hein’s bag. Htwe’s son was knocked off balance from the force. As he fell down the stairs leading into the subway he knocked his mother down with him. Than Htwe sustained massive injuries to her body and head, and authorities rushed her to the hospital.
At the hospital, 58-year-old Than Htwe underwent emergency brain surgery. Though the brain surgery kept her alive temporarily, doctors told her family that all her organs would shut down.
Before she died, doctors told Htwe’s family that her injuries were so severe she’d never wake up again. In preparing for the inevitable, Htwe’s son and husband chose to donate her organs to help others. Now her family is forced to face the story’s tragic end but are using their platform to spread a message of lope and hope.
In a GoFundMe post organized on July 20, Kyaw Zaw Hein and his father, Myint Shein, told donors “to always cherish the moments you have with your mother. Tell her ‘I love you’ or [give] her a hug and kiss because you never know what will happen.”
Since the tragic attack, the GoFundMe page has raised over $48,000. The organizers have since shut down the fundraiser and thanked everyone who supported their cause. “Donations are stopped now,” the latest update read. “Thank you all for your support!!”
On Monday, doctors told Than Htwe’s family that she wouldn’t make it. In an update posted to GoFundMe on Monday, Kyaw Zaw Hein wrote that “[my mother] won’t make it out of this.” He continued, saying that he and his father “decided to donate her organs for those who are in need. I want to say thank you again to all the people who supported us through this very hard time.”
Police have not identified a suspect in the botched robbery. The attacker remains on the loose. However, the NYPD has released surveillance camera footage of the man. Police said that on the day of the attack, the unnamed assailant tried to grab Hein’s backpack while he and his mother were walking up a flight of stairs. The force from the grab was so intense that Hein flew off, taking Than Htwe with him.
The pair were attacked at the Broadway and Canal Q line station in Chinatown. Hein was taking his mother to the doctor’s office when the botched robbery occurred. Police say the suspect fled the scene before they could respond.
According to an update on the GoFundMe page, NYC Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the unnamed assailant. Than Htwe’s son said that “if anyone knows anything, please don’t be afraid to speak out! We need justice for this horrific event that has happened to my family.”
After the incident, Kyaw Zaw Hein told reporters with the help of a translator that “at that moment, [I] just very frantically yelled out very loud for help. There was a lot of blood.” Hein is a 22-year-old college student who now fears for his own safety. His father, a sushi chef in New York City, feels the same way.
In speaking about his wife, Myint Shein said “she’s a very good woman. She’s very responsible.” Both he and his son have called upon police and politicians to do what they can to make New York City safer for everyone.