Body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev Buried In Secret Location

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 9 2013 11:44 AM

Officials Finally Found a Place to Bury Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Body

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Tamerlan Tsarnaev (r) was killed during a police chase in suburban Boston

Photo by Glenn DePriest/Getty Images

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body, refused by cemeteries across the Boston metro area, has finally been buried in an undisclosed location outside of Massachusetts. Here's the Boston Globe with the details, which are understandably scarce:

[A funeral home official] said that the remains of the suspected Boston Marathon bomber were removed sometime before midnight Wednesday from the Graham Putnam & ­Mahoney Funeral Parlors where his body has been since last Friday...
In a statement, Worcester police also confirmed that Tsarnaev has been buried, but did not disclose the location except to say it was outside of the city of Worcester. "As a result of our public appeal for help a courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased...His body is no longer in the city of Worcester and is now entombed."
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The saga of the older Tsarnaev brother's body has been a fascinating example of the taboo still imbued in disposing of the unwanted dead in America. The only funeral home that would accept the body in the first place is in Worcester, Mass., well outside of the Boston area. But even there it was unwelcome. While the funeral director waited and pleaded for a burial spot for the alleged mastermind of the Boston Marathon bombing, protesters kept vigil outside the building. Over the weekend, the City of Cambridge announced that Tamerlan would not be allowed a burial permit there.

The funeral home director, Peter Stefan, has a personal mission and city-wide reputation for taking care of the unwanted dead in his city — criminals, the homeless, AIDS victims at one time, or anyone without the resources to have arrangements made for them — which made him a natural choice to find a place for Tamerlan's body. "This is what we do," Stefan told the Globe, "I’m burying somebody who is dead. Everybody who is dead has the right to be buried."

As Mother Jones noted before the burial, Tamerlan is just one of many public examples of burial prohibition in the U.S.. While many previous examples include notorious murderers, the bodies of Jonestown cult members also became the subjects of a drawn-out fight after some feared a mass grave or group burial would become a shrine.

Stefan had been working with Tamerlan's uncle Ruslan Tsarni to find a burial plot after the suspect's widow waived her right to pick the spot. Tsarni has completed the rites necessary to bury Tamerlan in accordance with the family's Muslim faith, the Globe notes.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.