Patriots’ Day Bombing

05.04.13

Boston Bomber Widow: A ‘Social Butterfly’ Turned Sheltered Wife

Katherine Russell changed as her relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev progressed.

Katherine Russell is now known to the world as the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Muslim extremist responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing last month. Friends told The New York Times that Russell was once a “social butterfly,” but became more withdrawn as she got deeper into her relationship with Tsarnaev. The daughter of a doctor and a Suffolk University college student, Russell dropped out of school and abandoned her comfortable middle-class life to move into Tsarnaev's rundown apartment. As he steadily became more religious, she converted to Islam and started wearing a hijab. Rumors swirled in her involvement with her now deceased husband’s plot, but the FBI eventually confirmed that her fingerprints didn’t match the DNA samples found on the bomb fragments.