Marathon bombing suspect’s body to be claimed by family

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, is pictured in 2010. Credit: FBI
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, in 2010, was killed during a police pursuit. Credit: FBI

The family of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was expected to claim his body from the Massachusetts medical examiner, after his widow agreed to release it.

“It is Katherine Russell’s wish that his remains be released to the Tsarnaev family, and we will communicate her wishes to the proper authorities,” Russell’s attorney, Amato DeLuca, said in a statement Tuesday.

Tsarnaev’s body has been in the medical examiner’s custody since the 26-year-old was killed in a shootout with police three days after the April 15 bombings.

His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was arrested a day later and has been charged with crimes that carry the possibility of the death penalty.

“Of course, family members will take possession of the body,” Ruslan Tsarni, the suspects’ uncle, told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. “We’ll do it. We will do it. A family is a family.” Tsarni, who lives in Maryland, did not elaborate on the family’s plans.

Police say the ethnic Chechen brothers set off two homemade bombs that ripped through the crowd watching the race at the Boylston Street finish line, killing three and injuring 264.

Investigators have questioned Russell as they seek clues about how the brothers allegedly built the bombs and whether they had help.

The 24-year-old widow, who returned to her family in Rhode Island days after the blasts, has spent hours meeting with FBI agents at her home and at her lawyer’s office in Providence.

“In the coming days, 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 said.

On Monday, FBI investigators took DNA samples from the Russell home in North Kingstown. Officials are trying to determine who else may have handled the pressure cookers that contained the bombs after they found a woman’s DNA on at least one of them, an official said.

An autopsy on Tamerlan Tsarnaev determined precisely how he died but the results can’t be made public until the body is claimed, a spokesman for the Massachusetts medical examiner said Monday.

Authorities and the public have been waiting to learn whether Tsarnaev died in a hail of police bullets or whether he was run over by his younger brother when Dzhokhar fled in an SUV the pair had allegedly stolen.

The brothers’ parents, now living in Russia, said on Sunday that they have abandoned initial plans to come to the United States to claim their older son’s body and visit their younger son, who is being held at a prison medical facility.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


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