Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body has been buried, according to Worcester, Massachusetts, police who didn’t disclose the location.
“As a result of our public appeal for help, a courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased,” said an announcement on the police department’s website. “His body is no longer in the City of Worcester and is now entombed.”
Tsarnaev’s body had been at a Worcester funeral parlor as protesters held signs and chanted against interment in that city. Cemeteries and towns across the U.S. said they didn’t want it, including Boston and neighboring Cambridge, where Tsarnaev lived before the deadly attack.
Worcester police chief Gary J. Gemme yesterday made a public appeal for a resolution.
“We are not barbarians,” he told reporters gathered outside the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors office, in a Victorian-style house off of Main Street. “We bury the dead.”
Tsarnaev, 26, died in a firefight with police April 19, following a massive manhunt after the highest-profile terror attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Tsarnaev’s 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar fled, leading to a lockdown of the 10th-largest U.S. metropolitan area and his capture later that day. Their attempt to escape the Boston area left one university police officer shot dead and a transit patrolman wounded.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, found hiding in a boat stored in the backyard of a home in Watertown, across the Charles River from Boston, faces federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction, and may receive a death sentence if convicted. He’s being held at a federal prison hospital outside Boston.
The twin bombs -- pressure cookers loaded with explosives, nails, metal shards and BBs -- exploded April 15 near the finish line of the marathon, killing three spectators and injuring more than 260, according to prosecutors and court documents. Many survivors lost limbs.
The older brother was declared dead in a Boston hospital April 19 and his body was released May 2 by the Massachusetts medical examiner’s office. The corpse wound up in Worcester as members of the family sought a resting place for the remains.
Islamic tradition calls for the deceased to be washed, shrouded and prayed over before the body is buried, according to Kecia Ali, who teaches religion at Boston University. The corpse should be buried on its right side with the head toward Mecca, Muslim holy city in eastern Saudi Arabia, Ali said.
Muslims hold different beliefs about marking the grave, in some places elaborate markers are used and in others, graves are left unmarked, Ali said.
Cremation isn’t an option, partly because of a belief in resurrection, she said. Also, she said, it isn’t considered a respectful way to treat a body.
“The idea that is most often expressed is that it is contrary to dignity,” she said. “That it is not an honorable way of treating the body.”
Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, drove to Worcester from his Maryland home and has been at the funeral parlor trying find a place for burial. He has taken responsibility for the body, according to Sergeant Kerry Hazelhurst, a Worcester police spokesman. Tsarni went in and out of the funeral home several times on May 8 and declined to talk with reporters.
Chief Gemme said May 8 that a tentative deal to bury the body at on the grounds of a prison “evaporated” May 7.
“A number of attempts to contact state officials on Tuesday for explanation went unanswered and no telephone calls were returned,” Gemme said. “We are publicly appealing to those with authority to provide a burial site: Do so, and do so quickly.”
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