One of the more shocking elements of the Boston bomber case to emerge on Friday was the allegation -- one that was later substantiated -- that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was married and had a young child. TheBlaze first reported about this element of the story on Friday evening, offering up a few purported details about his 24-year-old wife, Katherine Russell, and the couple's child. Now, new claims and information are emerging about the family.
To begin, federal authorities are asking to speak with Russell, presumably to gain more insight about her husband and his purported attack. At the same time, her former peers are speaking out, claiming that the alleged terrorist transformed and brainwashed the woman.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Photo Credit: FBI)
The outlet claims: "She had converted to Islam, hidden her tumble of chestnut hair beneath the hijab and undergone a change so profound that today few friends profess to truly understand it." And adds some perspective from unnamed individuals who apparently knew her:
As a girl growing up in Rhode Island Katherine was known to her friends as Katie. One school friend who asked not to be named recalled: ‘I saw her like a few months ago and she was just totally transformed. She was not the same person at all.’
Another agreed: ‘She was just this All-American girl who was brainwashed by her super-religious husband. Nobody understands what happened to her.
‘None of us would have dreamed that she would marry so young or drop out of college and have a baby or convert or be part of any of what’s happened.’
She said, ‘She’s just not the same person at all.’
These alleged transformations, aside, the situation Russell finds herself in now is a profoundly difficult one. As the wife of one of the suspected bombers, authorities will want to pick her brain to learn more about what, if anything, she knew. The media scrutiny, too, will likely be overwhelming, especially for someone who does not have experience with a situation like this (and, let's face it -- few people do).
Amato, DeLuca, a lawyer for Russell (who, according to the Associated Press, also took her husband's surname, Tsarnaev) told the AP that he is working with police to coordinate how to proceed with the aforementioned discussion. Russell has apparently been staying with her parents in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and, on Sunday, authorities went to the home -- but DeLuca says that she did not speak with them. Instead, the attorney did.
"I spoke to them, and that's all I can say right now," he told the Associated Press. "We're deciding what we want to do and how we want to approach this."
A video, below, shows images of Russell as well:
While one of the family neighbors previously painted a picture in which it seemed Russell and Tsarnaev were separated or not living with one another for at least a year, DeLuca offered up new details that seem to show that the husband and wife were still very much living with one another at an apartment they shared with the suspect's mother.
On the last day that the alleged terrorist was alive, "he was home" when Russell left for work, DeLuca claims. The AP asked the lawyer if anything seemed amiss or off-center to the wife following the bombings, and DeLuca said, "Not as far as I know."
Russell apparently didn't suspect that her husband was involved in the plot, as she was working 70 to 80 hours per week as a home health care aide. Tsarnaev stayed home to care for the baby, the AP reports.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Photo Credit: AP)
"When this allegedly was going on, she was working, and had been working all week to support her family," the attorney added.
And, then he added one of the more intriguing elements -- that Russell learned of her husband's alleged role in the terror act at the Boston Marathon on television along with the rest of the nation, however he didn't go into detail.
As for the relationship between Russell and Tsarnaev, DeLuca added additional details, noting that they met at a nightclub while she was attending college at Suffolk University. They dated on and off again and then married in 2009 0r 2010. While she was raised a Christian, the attorney said that she converted to Islam after meeting Tsarnaev
"She believes in the tenets of Islam and of the Koran. She believes in God," DeLuca said, when asked by the AP why his client converted.
As previously reported, Tamerian was purportedly arrested for domestic assault and battery after purportedly abusing his girlfriend in 2009. For this, RT claims he was put on house arrest. It’s unclear if this was a turning point in the brother’s life, leading to the terror that was observed last week. But the Daily Mail claims that Russell was the individual whom he assaulted, with the purported action apparently doing little to dissuade her from staying with him.