WORCESTER, Mass. As the list of communities refusing to bury Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev grows, a solution could be nearing.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino says he does not want Tsarnaev buried in the city and he believes the body should be returned to his parents in Russia.
“He believes he should be sent back to Russia. It wouldn’t be appropriate for him to be buried in Boston,” Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce told The Associated Press. “He said his family wants him in Russia and that’s where he should go.”
Each day since Tsarnaev’s body was brought to a Worcester funeral home last Friday, protesters have gathered outside. They’ve placed plastic American flags and signs that say Tsarnaev’s body should “burn in hell,” not be buried in the U.S.
“He does not belong here; he belongs somewhere else. He belongs in Russia,” said Worcester resident Pamela Williams. “He’s a terrorist, he did something malicious. Why didn’t his uncle make arrangements to take his body back to Russia?”
Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, has been in Worcester since Tamerlan’s body was brought here. Tsarni wanted to bury his nephew in Cambridge, where Tsarnaev lived, but the city manager said no. And on Tuesday, so did Menino, joining the many cities and cemeteries that have rejected the idea of the bombing suspect being interned on their land.
Tsarnaev’s mother wants to bury her son in Russia, but funeral home owner Peter Stefan doesn’t think Russia will take the body.
In recent days, counter-demonstrators have also gathered.
“I believe that everybody in the United States and everywhere in the world has the right to be buried,” said Vickie Langohr of Watertown. She’s a professor of political science at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester.
“We bury pedophiles and mass murderers and sex criminals and school shooters, and nobody raises questions about that,” Langohr said. “And this man also has a right to be buried as his family wishes him to. It doesn’t bring any victims back to deny this man burial and I’m very proud of the folks in the funeral home that had the guts to stand up and I just wanted to show them they’re not alone.”
The owner of the Worcester funeral home is the man in the middle. Stefan wants to do his job but can’t find a place willing to accept Tsarneav’s body, which has been washed and wrapped in the Muslim tradition. On Tuesday, the Worcester police chief, Tsarnaev’s uncle and the undertaker met to negotiate an end to the impasse.
“I think all parties involved want a solution found soon with regards to getting the deceased out of here,” said Worcester police spokesperson Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst. “So they’re calling local areas and overseas and throughout the region. They’re pretty confident that there will be a solution and the solution will be in a couple of days.”
Perhaps as difficult as finding a place for Tsarnaev’s burial will be determining who pays for the round-the-clock police detail that has maintained public safety, crowd control and dealt with the media in Worcester. So far, the city says it has cost almost $40,000.