Katherine Russell became a person of interest when her husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was named as one of the Boston Marathon terrorists in 2013. An enigmatic figure, the once all-American and bubbly young girl was just an ordinary devout and conservative Muslim woman until the bombings that killed three and injured hundreds of people. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the reclusive widow of the Boston Marathon Bomber.
Katherine Russell (Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Wife) – Bio
A Texan, Katherine Russell was born on February 6, 1989, as the eldest daughter to Warren Russell, an emergency room doctor and Judith Russell, a nurse. She and her younger sisters, Anna and Rebecca were raised in a Christian home and had a comfortable upbringing in Rhode Island.
Katherine was an active student during her childhood and nurtured future dreams of serving in the Peace Corps. She was a member of the Dance Team and the Art Club while at Davisville Middle School, North Kingstown and later at North Kingstown High School. Katherine proceeded to study communications at Suffolk University, Boston, where she met her future husband, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and her life changed. It was while in college and partying at a night club in Boston that Katherine Russell met her husband, a prospective boxer, an athlete and an American immigrant from Chechnya.
It was during this time that Katherine converted to Islam and dropped out of college in her junior year after she became pregnant with Tsarnaev’s child. From then on, the all-American and bubbly young girl transformed into a studious, socially isolated, serious and devout Muslim woman. Her relationship with Tsarnaev was so intense that even a 2009 violent assault charge against him could not melt it away. The couple later got married at a Massachusetts mosque in June 2010. Their union produced a daughter Zahara who was still a toddler at the time of the bombings.
On April 15, 2013, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and his brother, Dzhokhar, killed three and injured over 260 people after planting a pair of pressure cooker bombs near the marathon’s finish line in Copley Square. After authorities launched a manhunt for the suspects, Katherine’s husband, Tamerlan, was killed in a shootout while his brother Dzhokhar was taken into custody and later incarcerated at the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
If She Remarried, Who Is Her New Husband?
After the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as her husband’s death, Katherine reverted to her maiden name, slipped from public view and cut all social links with friends. Though Russell remained true to her adopted faith, she wanted nothing to do with his corpse. Thereafter, her neighbours said she began living like a ghost, rarely seen and never heard. Russell and her daughter, Zahara, first moved in with her parents’ at their suburban Rhode Island home. But after a year, she moved out to New Jersey and began living with her husband’s sister, Ailina.
There have been speculations that she remarried and had another baby after her husband’s death, but these reports remain unconfirmed. Russell who was last seen in December 2016, has been away from the public eye and is presumed to be planning for her future. She has undoubtedly been living a quiet life, raising her daughter and perhaps doing the best to put past events behind her.
Other Facts About Katherine Russell
- Law Breaker
The Boston marathon bombings would not be the first time Katherine Russell has faced legal charges. In June 2007, she was arrested for stealing merchandise worth about $67 from Old Navy. However, she admitted to the theft and consequently returned the goods. She was also once charged to court over a traffic ticket.
- Parents Disapproval
Katherine’s parents were never in support of her relationship with Tamerlan from the onset as revealed by her mom, Judith. Their concerns weren’t because of Katherine’s conversion to Islam but more so because their once athletic and independent-minded daughter now appeared to be ‘brainwashed’ by an extremist.
- Pre-Boston Marathon Bombing
Though Katherine Russell’s late husband Tamerlan was a promising boxer and athlete, she was the breadwinner. It was through Katherine’s job as a home health aide that she was able to sustain the family while her husband was mostly at home surfing the net.
According to investigators, the pressure cooker bombs which Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother used at the Boston marathon were believed to have been partly made on Katherine Russell’s kitchen table which she shared with her late husband. Shortly after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Russell texted a friend stating that such was the fate of many innocent people in Syria and other places on a daily basis. More so, the search history on Russell’s PC showed that she may have been aware of her husband’s extremism. Some of the search phrases include “rewards for the wife of mujahideen” and “if your husband becomes a martyr what are the rewards for you?” Despite the pieces of suggestive evidence against Russell, prosecutors have never disclosed if she is a suspect and there have been no charges filed against her since then. She has never testified in court or spoken publicly about the bombing.