The family ripped apart by the Boston bombing: an eight-year-old boy is dead and his mother and sister are in hospital just because they wanted to watch dad run

The Richard family loved their city's marathon. But Monday's race has left their world in ruins

As Boston grappled with the horror that ripped through its marathon, nowhere was the shock felt more acutely than in the city’s Dorchester section, home to Martin Richard, the eight-year-old boy killed in the twin blasts, and described by neighbours as joyful and giving.

He was standing with his family close to the finishing line on Monday afternoon when the first of the two bombs went off.  Officials have confirmed that his younger sister, Jane, lost a leg in the blast and remains in critical condition as does his mother, Denise, who has suffered a brain injury. 

Meanwhile, it emerged that another child, 11-year-old Aaron Hern, of Martinez, California, was hurt after being struck by flying shrapnel in his thigh. Aaron, who is now being treated at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, was waiting to watch his mother cross the finishing line.

Another family to have been hit especially hard by the tragedy were the relatives of J P and Paul Norden, two brothers who each reportedly lost a leg in the explosions.

The 31- and 33-year-olds were separated in the confusion and were raced to different hospitals. Their mother, Liz Norden, told the Boston Globe that she received a call from Paul when he was on the way to the hospital. “Ma, I’m hurt real bad,” he said. The men, both roofers recently laid off from their jobs, had gone to the race to cheer on a friend.

For the Richard family, the marathon was a highlight of the year. The father, Bill Richard, is a keen runner and would usually participate but was forced on to the sidelines by an injury, according to Stephen Lynch, a US congressman and a family friend. “They were looking in the crowd as the runners were coming to see if they could identify some of their friends when the bomb hit,” he said.

The poignancy of another child being murdered just weeks after the Newtown School massacre that saw 20 young pupils killed was underscored by a picture of Martin posted on Facebook by a friend of his former teacher.  It shows him smiling and holding aloft a painting with the message “No more hurting people. Peace”.  He had drawn it during a lesson last April about the killing in Florida of Trayvon Martin.

“What a gift. To know him was to love him,” said another family friend Judy Tuttle. “He had that million-dollar smile and you never knew what was going to come out of him. Denise is the most spectacular mother that you’ve ever met and Bill is a pillar of the community. It doesn’t get any better than these people.”

Martin played flag football and was a proud member of the Savin Hill Little League team, neighbours said. Opening Day for the league, including a parade, was scheduled for next week.  Savin Hill Little League president Tony King remembered Martin as a “very mature eight-year-old” and “a very, very much loved little kid”.

Bill Richard was released from hospital after being treated briefly and was seen by neighbours returning to his Dorchester home on Monday evening. Yesterday, well-wishers placed a candle on the home’s front porch with “Peace” written in chalk.

Bill Richard is known in the neighbourhood, dotted with detached 19th-century  homes for his volunteer work on a local environmental committee.  Denise Richard had worked as a librarian in the school attended by her three children. Their eldest child, a son, was unhurt in the explosions.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot