TORONTO (AP) — An aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said Friday the older brother recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, and she doesn’t believe the brothers could have been involved in Monday’s attack.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev had married and had a 3-year-old daughter in the US, Maret Tsarnaeva told reporters in Toronto.
“He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can’t tie it to religion,” she said.
But she said the 26-year-old Tamerlan “seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it’s not easy.”
Tamerlan was killed Thursday night during a shootout with police, and a huge manhunt was under way in the Boston area for his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar.
Tsarnaeva said she wants proof they are involved in the deadly bombing.
“We’re talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that … I don’t know them in the way that they could be capable of this,” Tsarnaeva said.
She said her brother Anzor Tsarnaev had high expecations for his sons, especially Tamerlan.
She said her brother was desperate when he found out Tamerlan dropped out of his university. She said he always demanded more of his children and said Tamerlan was his favorite.
Tamerlan wasn’t a devout practicing Muslim, “but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day,” she said.
Tsarnaeva called both boys smart and athletic.
“Within the family, everything was perfect,” she said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press