WBUR

Worcester Funeral Home Known For Taking Unwanted Bodies Has Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s

BOSTON — Funeral arrangements are being made for the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect, but two weeks after his death, those plans remain incomplete.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body is now at a funeral home in Worcester. It was sent there Friday morning from a funeral parlor in North Attleborough, where a small protest broke out when the body arrived there Thursday night.

WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke about the odyssey involving Tsarnaev’s body with Linda Bock, a reporter for The Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Worcester funeral director Peter Stefan poses next to boxes of unclaimed ashes for an unrelated 2008 news story. (Lisa Poole/AP)

Worcester funeral director Peter Stefan poses next to boxes of unclaimed ashes for an unrelated 2008 news story. (Lisa Poole/AP)

Sacha Pfeiffer: This Worcester funeral home, Graham Putnam & Mahoney, has a specialty of sorts in these types of cases or these types of bodies?

Linda Bock: Yes. This is a funeral home that’s been in the city, in a very poor section of the city, for about 150 years, and the funeral director, Peter Stefan, has been a funeral director about 35 years. He has a reputation in the city for taking care of poor people, people who can’t afford a funeral, people who have unfortunate circumstances. I know he’s buried murderers and he’s been involved in other kinds of high-profile funeral arrangements. And I guess he told me [Friday] morning that he initially thought he was going to handle the arrangements, but there was some confusion among family members. And that’s how the body was in North Attleborough [Thursday].

So it may not have been that it was transferred because of those protests we mentioned? It just may have been always meant to go to Worcester.

Yes, exactly.

Is this a conviction or principle on Stefan’s part for why he tends to take these kinds of cases?

He just deeply believes that every person deserves a respectful burial and it’s been his philosophy. And even [Friday] morning, it was interesting talking to people. There were not as many protesters because a lot of people know that Peter often does help people who can’t afford burials. They’ve handled well over 100 burials for Muslims. So this is a man in this city who has handled all kinds of situations.

Does he worry at all about inviting controversy since this is an exceptionally controversial case, even if he’s used to these kinds of situations?

Not one bit. He said, “Not one bit,” because I said, “Aren’t you worried about protesters or aren’t you going to ask for police presence out here?” And he said he’s very calm, he’s very — you know, feels that he wouldn’t do this unless he felt it was safe for the neighborhood and everything. And he said because Worcester really is like a little town feel and it’s a very neighborhood community feeling there, he feels that people will be respectful. They may not like it, but he’s not anticipating any trouble.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s family reportedly wants a traditional Muslim funeral. Is this funeral home equipped to do that?

Yes. Yes he is. And he said they even have the special soaps, the soaps with no animal fats and they’ve done quite a few of these Muslim burials. He knew all the traditions and everything, although in a traditional Muslim burial, there’s usually a mosque involved. In this case, because of the circumstances, Peter said that he does not think the family, you know — it will not probably happen in a mosque. But the funeral home will probably do the washing of the body.

Is that because they think they can’t find a mosque willing to do it?

I think for a lot of reasons. And I think for the family really wanting privacy now. Right now Peter, the biggest problem he said he’s having [Friday] is he cannot find a cemetery to accept the body.

A cemetery simply doesn’t want to be associated with this person?

Right. There are not very many cemeteries in the state that have either a Muslim section or are Muslim cemeteries. So he has tried those first, and he’s tried others. So far, he told me, he’s striking out with all of them.

So I assume, then, no details about when or any specifics about the where, because so much still has to be worked out.

Right. he did say that Muslims do not have wakes or visitations, so there will be nothing public or nothing that will be open to even a big gathering.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    i find it insane that people are actually protesting a funeral home. WTF are they supposed to do with him? put his corpse in a gibbet in the harbor? i do not know why this is even a story in the press. i have my suspicions though

    • http://twitter.com/CibaoJoba Henry E Corniel

      Good idea, but forget the gibbet.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        whats wrong with you?

  • ladagosta

    Thank the Heavens above that this funeral home has the decency to bury the dead! HONESTLY PEOPLE if this was one of your loved ones.. honestly every living being deserves the right to a proper burial. no one excluded how many soldiers have been buried over the years and no one protested their right to be buried.. this is a humane thing to do.. not a questionable act.. god forgives even the worse sinner. why cant you all learn to love one another even those who may have done wrong in their lives oh you Christians .. get with the program.. and everyone else out there who have no heart.

    • http://www.facebook.com/annette.chapel Annette Chapel

      amen

    • http://twitter.com/CibaoJoba Henry E Corniel

      You’re right about giving the beast a ritual burial, and his funeral should include ceremonial grinding of his remains and feeding them to zoo beasts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        you should be there with the other insane people protesting a corpse

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorianne.ferullo Lori-Anne Ferullo

    I wouldn’t of cared if it was someone els being who ever he or she might be,”But this scum bag after what he did to all of us an all the Innocent people that pass away an hurt many more OMG really! My 2 brothers are still in the Boston Hospitals they lost their legs it’s not right or fair for that person to be lay to rest in Mass. sorry but that how some of us really feel . My 2 brothers were there to see their Friends cross the Marathon Finish line that’s all they wanted too see and then the mess happen, it not fair all I do is cry for them, I thank God that they have their life still but they will never be the same ever. Both of my brothers are very Strong we will pull this together in time cuz we are Boston Strong…!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/annette.chapel Annette Chapel

      i am sorry for your brothers but tamerlan still deserves a funeral

      • http://twitter.com/CibaoJoba Henry E Corniel

        Deserve is such a misused and misunderstood word/concept this days. You’re a callous and repulsive creature.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          if his conviction in the media is correct this guy was an idiot and a criminal and a murderer. despite this every human corpse deserves a respectful burial. we have a being to judge him in the afterlife and you aint it. i find your sentament completly disgusting

          • pcs

            Hey Futo Buddy. Like your pic. Support Islamic terror, much? The afterlife, eh? The 72-virgin reward for blowing up an American child at the Boston Marathon? That’s just ducky. Let me tell you something: I AM YOUR ENEMY. I WILL KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE ON YOU AND YOUR KIND. I WILL NOT SUBMIT. I WILL NOT BELIEVE YOUR TAQIYYA AND OTHER DECEPTIONS. I WILL DO EVERYTHING WITHIN MY POWER TO DEFEAT YOU AND YOUR USEFUL IDIOT APOLOGISTS.

            How ya like me now? God Bless America.

          • cosmic

            Could you explain the lack of WMDs in Iraq? Thanks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            what do you think thats a picture of? what is my kind? exactly how many bud lights did you have to drink to come to that conclusion? have you every heard of anyone protesting at a funeral? its insane, and if you have not been drinking so are you. i dont get the feeling that you are walking with god at all. also i hope that the +1 you got was from yourself because it would scare me if there were two people delusional enough to condone such nonsense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      so you are mad about a corpse? we may not like the alleged terrorist but he still has a family and being buried is not about the corpse its about its family.

      • pcs

        Like your hero, Osama Bin Laden, the “alleged” perpetrator of the September 11 attack on my country? Oh. It wasn’t Osama. It was:

        a. The Mossad

        b. The Jews

        c. George W. Bush

        d. Angry White Men (The Republicans)

        e. All of the above.

        Let me guess. You pick E. Excellent.

        • cosmic

          Tell us more about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Thanks.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          who do you think i am?

  • rich4321

    Why even bother. Why not just dump it in the ocean so the sharks can have a nice meal?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      whats wrong with you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Myra-Diphyto/100003713568690 Myra Diphyto

    I’m not familiar with American procedures. To my understanding, if a body is not claimed, it is disposed by a government facility? Something like a pauper’s grave? It goes into a containment burial with other unclaimed bodies like homicide victims, destitute senior citizens, the homeless, and criminals executed recently. It is strange to me that an unclaimed body can end up in a funeral home. Funeral homes charge by the day. This one must be complimentary or something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      this guy actually has a family and they claimed his body and made the arrangements. this funeral home director is known to work for free or for a discount because he actually has ethics and believes in what he does. god bless the funeral director.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke about the odyssey involving Tsarnaev’s body with Linda Bock, a reporter for The Worcester Telegram & Gazette
    The Odessey? are they kidding? why is this a news story? this guys corpse is getting more attention than michael jacksons. the people protesting a corpse are insane and should be ashamed of them selves. god bless this funeral director he should be given a medal or the keys to the city and a beer with oboma

  • sjw81

    you mean known for never ever turning down business. no principles. assume he would take hitlers body also, providing a deposit was given in advance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      you know what they say about assuming things. in this case he has in fact said that he would bury hitlers body or anyone elses. he is very principled thank god. have you ever heard it said that two wrongs do not make a right?

    • J__o__h__n

      I don’t want the body buried here, but I respect the funeral director for being professional and not refusing service.

  • Lysslee22

    Sjw81 did you read the article he buries poor people who canNot afford it..if your poor you can’t pay so there would be no deposit. I don’t know many companies or if any that do anything for free now a days..so hows that for your principles do your fact checking and know what your talking about before you run your mouth with nonsense……

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