Investigators close to the Boston bombing case have reported the presence of female genetic material on some of the bomb fragments found at the scene, but experts are unable to link any significance to the find.
The Wall Street Journal first broke the news about the DNA and suggested that Katherine Russell, the widow of alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had become a suspect. Investigators have since tested Russell’s DNA against the discovered genetic material and have determined there is no match.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) first sought to interview Russell directly after the attack, but she obtained legal counsel and has chosen to deal with the authorities through her attorneys. Her initial cooperation involved submitting to a DNA test, but what she may have known prior to the attack remains a mystery.
Many feel Russell had to have known more than her attorneys allow.
Tsarnaev, who died in a confrontation with law enforcement days after the bombing, married Russell in 2010 in Boston. Russell, who was raised as a Christian in rural Massachusetts, converted to Islam after meeting Tsarnaev. Some of her friends and neighbors are convinced that it would have been impossible for her to not have known some details due to their relationship and small shared living space.
Further clouding the issue is a report that the surviving Tsarnaev brother and alleged coconspirator in the plot, Dzhokhar, told FBI investigators that the bombs used in the attack were built in the apartment Russell shared with her husband. He has since stopped talking to investigators after having been informed of his right to remain silent.
Russell, however, will likely be able to avoid an official FBI interrogation unless they find direct evidence linking her to the crime, because of the rules of spousal immunity and her ability to invoke protection against self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment.