Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Getty Images
(Michael Winter USA Today) The mother of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev wants her son's body returned to Russia for burial, a Worcester funeral home director said Monday.
Peter Stefan, of the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, told reporters that Zubeidat Tsarnaeva had called him Sunday from Russia, where she and her husband have gone into hiding after deciding not to return to the United States to claim their son's body, The Boston Globe reported.
Stefan has been unable to find a cemetery in Massachusetts that will bury Tsarnaev, who died April 19 after being shot during a gun battle with police and being run over by his fleeing brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been charged with the April 15 double bombings that killed three and wounded 264.
The Globe writes that Stefan had "reached out" to the U.S. State Department and Russian authorities but not spoken with anyone who could authorized shipping the body to Russia or burying it there. He did not say exactly where in Russia Tsarnaev's mother wanted to bury her 26-year-old son, who was not a U.S. citizen. He said she cried during their phone call.
She and her husband had been living in the capital of Dagestan, a republic in southern Russia.
Ruslan Tsarni, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's uncle, arrived from Maryland over the weekend to arrange for his nephew's burial. He and three of his friends planned to wash and shroud his nephew's body according to Muslim tradition.
Tsarni, who denounced the bombings, said he understands that "no one wants to associate their names with such evil events."
He wants his nephew buried in Massachusetts because he lived in the state for the last decade.
"I'm dealing with logistics. A dead person must be buried," he said.
The state medical examiner ruled that Tsarnaev died from gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to his head and torso. Police have said Dzhokhar ran over his brother in a chaotic getaway.
Stefan said Sunday that the family won't request that an independent medical examiner perform a second autopsy, but representatives from the family's legal team might photograph Tsarnaev's body before it's washed.
Protests continued Monday outside the Worcester funeral home, where Tsarnaev's has been since Friday.
Cambridge City Manager Robert Healy said in a statement Sunday there has been no formal application for a burial permit or purchase of a cemetery plot. He said he is urging Tsarnaev's family and Stefan not to request a burial permit for the city-owned Cambridge Cemetery.
Healy said the city "would be adversely impacted by the turmoil, protests, and widespread media presence at such an interment." He said the families who have loved ones interred at the cemetery also deserve to have their deceased family members rest in peace.
Healey said other federal agencies should take the lead in the burial.
Tsarnaev, who had appeared in surveillance photos wearing a black cap and was identified as Suspect No. 1, died days after the April 15 bombings at the marathon finish line, which killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was captured.
Stefan said he has received calls from people criticizing him and calling him "un-American" for being willing to handle Tamerlan Tsarnaev's funeral.
"We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No," he said. "We are burying a dead body. That's what we do."