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Boston Bombing Suspect’s Body Buried in Virginia

(Updates with comment from woman involved in burial starting in sixth paragraph.)

By Annie Linskey

May 10 (Bloomberg) -- Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body has been buried in a Muslim cemetery near Richmond, Virginia, according to the death certificate filed at Boston’s city hall.

The Al-Barzakh Cemetery in Doswell accepted the body and is listed as the “place of disposition” on the document.

Tsarnaev’s body had been at a Worcester, Massachusetts, funeral parlor for a week after being released by the medical examiner’s office, 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 made a public appeal for a resolution on May 8.

“We are not barbarians,” he told reporters gathered outside the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors office. “We bury the dead.”

Martha Mullen, 48, of Richmond heard about the protests and the failure to secure a burial site and decided to help, according to an interview in the Boston Globe. “It portrayed America at its worst,” she said, according to the Globe.

Muslim Cemetery

She sent an e-mail to the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia, which helped arrange for the Al-Barzakh Cemetery interment, according to the report. Multiple messages left with the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia haven’t been answered.

The Al-Barzakh Cemetery’s website said “more than 12” Muslims are buried there and called it the first all-Muslim cemetery in the central part of Virginia. Doswell is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Richmond, the state’s capital.

Tsarnaev, 26, died after a firefight with police April 19, following a manhunt after the highest-profile terror attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. His cause of death is listed as “gunshot wounds of torso and extremities” and “blunt trauma to head and torso” on the death certificate.

After Tsarnaev was shot, police said his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, drove toward the body, hit it, dragged it for a period, then fled from the vehicle. The ensuing hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev led to a lockdown of the 10th-largest U.S. metropolitan area and his capture later that day.

Brother Imprisoned

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 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 two bombs, made of 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.

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, the Muslim holy city in western 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.

Tsarnaev’s parents are both in Russia. His uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, drove to Worcester from his Maryland home to the funeral parlor and was trying find a place for burial. Tsarni went in and out of the funeral home several times on May 8 and declined to talk with reporters.

The death certificate included several other details about Tsarnaev, including his birth place marked as Elista, which is the capital of the Russian republic of Kalmykia. He was born Oct. 21, 1986.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s occupation is listed as “never worked.”

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