WEST NEW YORK, New Jersey — The FBI on Friday removed a computer from the U.S. home of a sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Police said she was cooperating with the investigation and was “heartbroken, surprised and upset,” though she told reporters she wasn’t sure the accusations against her brothers were true.
The woman, identified by local police as Ailina Tsarnaeva, told federal agents she had not been in contact with her brothers for years, according to Police Director Michael Indri.
“The main concern was to confirm that there was no contact made one way or the other, and I’m confident that the FBI has confirmed that,” he said.
Federal agents searched the home and left with a computer and other electronics.
Early in the day, she spoke through a barely open door to News12 New Jersey and The Star-Ledger newspaper, telling them she was sorry for the families that lost loved ones “the same way I lost my loved one.”
“I’m hurt for everyone that’s been hurt,” she said.
Her brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed overnight in a shootout with police outside Boston. Her younger brother was taken into custody Friday evening after he was found hiding in a boat in someone’s backyard.
“He was a great person,” the woman said of her dead brother. “I thought I knew him. I never would have expected that from him. He is a kind and loving man. The cops took his life away just the same way he took others’ lives away, if that’s even true. At the end of the day, no one knows the truth.”
“I have no idea what got into them,” she said.
Indri said the woman was cooperating with the FBI.
“She’s heartbroken, surprised and upset like we all are,” he said.
A woman who described herself as a friend of Ailina described a different relationship between the woman and the elder brother.
Vicki Colon said the woman feared him because “he used to beat her.”
Colon said she met the two brothers during a visit to Massachusetts a couple years ago. She said the younger brother was very quiet.
West New York Mayor Felix Roque spoke briefly with Tsarnaeva and her family shortly after her younger brother was taken into custody Friday night. Roque said he wanted to offer his assistance.
“I’m looking at the human side of this,” Roque said as he left the home. “It’s not easy, it’s not easy for them. They are really hurting. They are human beings, just like all of us … it’s a family death, and it’s not easy for them.”