The widow of slain Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev wants the Massachusetts medical examiner’s office to release his remains to members of his family, according to her lawyer.
“We will communicate her wishes to the proper authorities,” Amato DeLuca, an attorney for Katherine Russell, said yesterday in a statement.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police April 19, while his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, escaped and was captured later that day. The younger suspect was wounded and is in a federal prison hospital outside Boston.
The brothers are suspected of detonating two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, killing three people and wounding more than 260. Russell lived in a Cambridge, Massachusetts, apartment with Tamerlan and their 2-year-old daughter. She has returned to her parents’ home in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation took DNA samples from the widow on April 29, according to a U.S. official who was briefed on the probe and asked not to be identified because the case is open. Investigators have found female DNA on a bomb fragment, said the official, who cautioned that the genetic material may have come from a number of sources and that its discovery doesn’t necessarily mean that more people were involved in the crime.
“Katherine will continue to meet with law enforcement, as she has done for many hours over the past week, and provide as much assistance to the investigation as she can,” DeLuca, of Providence, Rhode Island-based DeLuca & Weizenbaum, said in the statement.
The suspects, ethnic Chechens who came to the U.S. with their parents as refugees from Russia’s Caucasus region, were motivated by radical Islam they learned mostly over the Internet, according to lawmakers briefed by federal law- enforcement officials. Questions still abound over whether they had any help from people or organizations outside the U.S.
Tamerlan traveled for six months in Russia last year and visited the republics of Dagestan and Chechnya, where there are Islamic separatist movements. Russian security services had earlier asked their U.S. counterparts to check out the older brother’s activities, and nothing incriminating was found, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified discussing intelligence matters.
A review of how information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev was handled will “leave no stone unturned,” President Barack Obama said yesterday at a White House news briefing.
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties,” Obama said. He said tracking terrorists in the U.S. who “may not be part of any kind of network” is “hard stuff.”
“One of the dangers that we now face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here,” Obama said. Both the Tsarnaev brothers had lived in America for about a decade before the bombings.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a U.S. citizen, has been charged with two capital counts, including use of a weapon of mass destruction. He may get the death penalty if convicted.
The suspects have relatives in the Washington area as well as in New Jersey and Toronto. Their parents had moved back to Russia before this year. Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, has said he would return to Boston to meet with his surviving son.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cause of death won’t be made public by the medical examiner’s office until the body is released, according to the Associated Press. The news service said an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, who lives near Washington, said family members would take possession of the body now that his widow has agreed to release it, without elaborating.
DeLuca didn’t respond to a message left at his office after normal business hours. Tsarni didn’t respond to a telephone call and e-mail seeking comment. Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the medical examiner, didn’t respond to messages left on his office voicemail or his mobile phone.
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