Marathon bombing suspects had been on welfare

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by CBS News

CBS News

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 29 at 12:14 PM

The suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings killed in a shootout with police received welfare benefits from the state up until last year, when he became ineligible based on family income.

A spokesman for the state Office of Health and Human Services on Wednesday confirmed a Boston Herald report that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife and their toddler daughter had received benefits.

A lawyer for his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva, has said that she worked 70 to 80 hours per week as a home health aide while her husband cared for their daughter.

The state says both Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — his brother and the other bombing suspect — received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.

Neither was receiving benefits at the time of the bombing.

Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva is assisting federal authorities who are investigating the attacks, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

"She is doing everything she can to assist with the investigation," said Amato DeLuca, her lawyer. "The report of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all."

The lawyer also issued a statement that said Tsarnaeva, whose toddler is the daughter of the late suspect, is "trying to come to terms with these events."

Meanwhile U.S. investigators are in contact with suspects in southern Russia and working with Russian security officials to shed light on the deadly attack, a U.S. Embassy official said Wednesday.

 

The Americans traveled Tuesday from Moscow to the predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan "because the investigation is ongoing, it's not over," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said the U.S. team is working with the Russian security services, the FSB.

 

"This is a horrible tragedy for our country, but one positive development might be closer cooperation on this set of issues with the Russian government," the embassy official said.

 

The Tsarnaev brothers are accused of setting off the two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15. The elder brother was later killed in a police standoff.

 

Investigators are looking into whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who spent six months in Russia's Caucasus in 2012, was influenced by the religious extremists who have waged an insurgency against Russian security services in the area for years. The brothers have roots in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya, but neither spent much time in either place before the family moved to the United States a decade ago.

On Wednesday, their mother, Tsarnaeva, was inside the FSB building in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where she was believed to be speaking further to U.S. and Russian investigators.

 

Heda Saratova, a prominent Chechen rights activist providing support to the distraught mother, said Tsarnaeva first went in for questioning on Tuesday, returning late at night. Saratova said she had no details about the discussions, but Tsarnaeva said they were "cordial."

 

The father, Anzor Tsarnaev, also was summoned to the FSB headquarters but did not go because he felt ill.

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