After news broke that alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed by police in a shootout late last night, his outspoken aunt revealed a little known secret about him.
The 26-year-old Chechen was both a husband and a father.
Now, Katherine Russell, a 24-year-old student, is being identified as his wife. Russell is also the mother of their child, a three-year-old girl named Zahara.
It is unclear when the two married, but a neighbor told Mail Online that Russell converted to Islam shortly after starting school at Suffolk University in Boston.
“I knew Katherine was married and she had converted to Islam. She went away to college about three or four years ago and I saw her a year later and she was dressed in the Islamic style. Her hair was covered and she was wearing very baggy, flowy clothing,” the neighbor said.
Another neighbor, Paula Gillette, confirmed that Russell had indeed converted to Islam.
“Before Katherine went to Suffolk she wore normal clothes like jeans, t-shirts and skirts but when he came back she was wearing a white headscarf.”
The neighbor gave more details about Russell’s life, even revealing that she went back and forth between using her maiden name and her husband’s last name.
“They came up most weekends and had Massachusetts license plates on their car, so I thought they lived in Boston and came home at the weekends to see her family. They were always together,” the unnamed neighbor said.
However, she admitted that she hadn’t seen Tsarnaev in about a year. Russell had moved back to the family home at this point, reportedly to take care of the baby.
“I never saw him again, I thought maybe he’s gone away or he’s busy with school.”
Earlier today, authorities confirmed that Tsarnaev spent six months out of 2012 in Russia. It is unclear where he was the other half of the year.
Russell has yet to make a statement, but when media approached the home, a man believed to be Russell’s father responded.
“We have no comment at this time,” Warren Russell said.
As this investigation is currently active, we will bring you updates as they come.