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Aunt says U.S. suspect recently became devout Muslim

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 2:00 p.m. CST
Caption
(Chris Young)
Maret Tsarnaeva, an aunt of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, holds a reporter's smart phone which displays a scene from the bomb site, as she speaks to journalists in the lobby of her apartment building in Toronto on Friday April 19, 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His brother, a 19-year-old college student who was dubbed Suspect No. 2 and was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday's deadly bombing at the marathon finish line, escaped. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

TORONTO (AP) — An aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said Friday the older brother recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, and she doesn't believe the brothers could have been involved in Monday's attack.

"We're talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that ... I don't know them in the way that they could be capable of this," Maret Tsarnaeva told reporters in Toronto.

She said her brother Anzor Tsarnaev had high expecations for his sons, especially 26-year-old Tamerlan.

She said her brother was desperate when he found out Tamerlan dropped out of his university. She said he always demanded more of his children and said Tamerlan was his favorite.

Tamerlan married and had a 3-year-old daughter in the U.S., she said.

"He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can't tie it to religion," she said.

But she said Tamerlan "seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it's not easy."

Tamerlan wasn't a devout practicing Muslim, "but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day," she said.

Tamerlan was killed Thursday night during a shootout with police, and a huge manhunt was under way in the Boston area for his brother.

Tsarnaeva called both boys smart and athletic, and she wants proof they are involved in the deadly bombing.

"Within the family, everything was perfect," she said.

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