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Investigators focus on the wife of the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect, among others.
Published Apr. 30, 2013

New York Times

Federal authorities are closely scrutinizing the activities of the wife of the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect in the days before and after the attacks, the New York Times reported Monday, citing two unnamed senior law enforcement officials.

The authorities are looking at a range of possibilities, including that she could have - wittingly or unwittingly - destroyed evidence, helped the suspects evade capture or even played a role in planning the attacks, the officials said. As part of the investigation, FBI agents are trying to determine whether female DNA found on a piece of a pressure cooker used as an explosive device in the attacks was from Katherine Russell, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, according to the officials.

One official said a fingerprint had been found on a bomb fragment and investigators have tried to collect DNA and fingerprint samples from several people whom the authorities are scrutinizing, in addition to Russell.

Federal authorities took a sample of Russell's DNA on Monday in Rhode Island, where she has been staying with her parents, the officials said.

Her lawyer, Amato DeLuca, has said Russell was shocked when she learned that her husband and brother-in-law were suspected of involvement in the attack. "Katie continues to assist in the investigation in any way that she can," he said Monday in an email.

The focus on Russell is part of the wider effort by the FBI to determine who else may have played a role aiding the suspects. While the authorities do not believe the suspects were tied to a larger terrorist network or had accomplices, they remain skeptical that others did not know of their plans or did not help them destroy evidence. A law enforcement official said authorities were investigating individuals who may have helped the suspects in some way after the bombings.

Russell, 24, grew up in North Kingston, R.I., and is the daughter of a physician. She met Tsarnaev at Suffolk University, her lawyer said. She converted to Islam and married him in 2010.

On Monday, another lawyer was added to the defense team of the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. Judy Clarke, one of the nation's foremost experts in death penalty cases, took the case at the behest of Tsarnaev's three federal public defenders.

Clarke's past clients include Susan Smith, who was convicted of drowning her two children, Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and Jared Loughner, who killed six people at an event held by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. All avoided the death penalty and received life sentences instead.

U.S., Russia focus on intelligence

After President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone Monday, a Russian official said cooperation between the leaders' intelligence services had "noticeably intensified in the past few days." But the official, Yuri Ushakov, a top Putin aide, said Russia had not been able to provide valuable intelligence about the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Russian intelligence services have neither publicly confirmed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited Dagestan last year nor verified U.S. accounts of two warnings sent by the Russian security service in 2011 identifying Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a potentially dangerous Islamic radical.