Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

April 23, 2013

A talented artist and now, bombing suspect's wife

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — Katherine Russell was a talented artist, a good student who grew up Christian, the daughter of a suburban doctor.

Then she went off to college in Boston.

A few years later, she had dropped out of school, converted to Islam and was Katherine Tsarnaeva, wife of a man who would become a suspect in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings and a subject of one of the biggest manhunts in American history.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, two ethnic Chechen brothers from southern Russia, are accused of planting two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon finish line last week, killing three people and injuring more than 200. Tamerlan was killed in a getaway attempt after a gunbattle with police. Dzhokhar, who was captured hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston backyard and is hospitalized, was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

Authorities have not released a motive, but two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, told The Associated Press that evidence suggests the brothers were motivated by a radical brand of Islam.

Tsarnaeva, 24, has avoided the public eye since her identity became known Friday. On the rare occasions when she has emerged from her parents' Rhode Island home, she is dressed in the traditional Muslim headscarf, a hijab, and has refused to answer questions.

Those who know her and knew her husband describe her as sweet and dedicated to Islam.

Tsarnaeva grew up with two younger sisters on a quiet cul-de-sac in North Kingstown, a rural, wooded town a 90-minute drive south from the apartment she would eventually share in Cambridge, Mass., with her husband and his family. Her father, Warren Russell, is an emergency doctor whose Facebook profile lists his high school alma mater as the elite New Hampshire boarding school Phillips Exeter Academy and college as Yale. Her mother, Judith Russell, was listed on her Facebook profile as working at a social services agency.

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