With 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev still considered unfit for interrogation, authorities will surely be asking questions of those closest to him and to his brother Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a shoot-out with police. One person who may be able to shed light on the motives of the alleged Boston bombers is Tamerlan’s wife, 24-year-old Katherine Russell, who on Friday arrived at her parents’ home in Rhode Island, accompanied by agents from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Russell family later released a short statement, responding to the news that Katherine’s husband and his brother were believed to be responsible for the bomb attack at the Boston Marathon a week ago.
“We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred,” said the statement. “In the aftermath of the Patriot’s Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev.”
Katherine Russell grew up with her two younger sisters, Anna and Becca, in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Their father Warren is an emergency room doctor; their mother, Judith, is a nurse. Katherine is thought to have met Tamerlan in 2009, after moving to Boston to study at Suffolk University, at around the same time friends and family claim the elder Tsarnaev brother was becoming more devout.
The two began dating, and Russell, then 21, converted to Islam and took to wearing the hijab. Soon they were married with a daughter, Zahara, now three. Neighbours in North Kingstown said the young family often came to visit Russell’s parents on weekends. Russell reportedly attended Suffolk University from 2007 to 2010, but never graduated. On Saturday, she visited the home she shared with Tsarnaev in the Boston suburb of Cambridge, to collect some of her possessions, including a pet cat.