As details emerge about the Boston Marathon bombers, the 3-year-old daughter of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Zahara Tsarnaev, has become the subject of a media photo frenzy.
Photos of the deceased suspect's daughter surfaced online Wednesday showing the 3-year-old playing outside with her grandmother in Rhode Island.
The New York Daily News posted photos of Zahara Tsarnaev with a blurred-out face with her maternal grandmother, Judith Russell, playing in the backyard of Russell's home in North Kingstown, R.I. The New York Post, however, posted photos snapped at the same scene but did not blur out the child’s face.
The child’s mother and wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, was nowhere to be seen on Wednesday, though her sister was spotted driving away from the house. The Daily News reported the child’s grandmother was peering into the woods, alert for possible intruders, as Zahara played, seemingly unphased by the recent events.
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“If Zahara, 3, was aware of the tragedy that her dad, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and uncle had wrought at the Boston Marathon, it was not evident on her face, which the Daily News is obscuring,” the newspaper reported.
The Post similarly said the child appeared “oblivious to the horror committed by her terror-loving father,” adding, “She doesn’t have a care in the world.”
The Daily News has received criticism for posting the photos of the child because she is so young.
“Even though the Daily News blotted out her face, it's still wrong to drag a toddler into this media mess. There's no reason for photographers to be stalking her from the bushes. If her face ever gets out there, it'll be on the Interwebs for all time,” The Stir wrote. “Her name will forever be associated with his. We have no idea how that might affect her in the future.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev, were named the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing April 15, which killed three and injured more than 280. The older Tsarnaev was killed in a gun battle with local police in the early-morning hours of April 19, part of a chain of events where the brothers robbed a convenience store, fatally shot MIT campus police officer Sean Collier, and hijacked a car in Cambridge, prompting a police chase during which they reportedly threw explosive devices at the cops. After a daylong manhunt for Dzhokar Tsarnaev, he was found hiding in a boat, seriously injured with gunshot wounds, and is in custody recovering at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess hospital. He has confessed to the bombings, citing the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the pair's motive. Federal authorities have charged Dzhokhar with use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property.
The widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, may also be questioned by authorities. According to her attorney Amato DeLuca, 24-year-old Russell first learned that her husband was a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings while watching television, The Associated Press reports.
While Russell herself has not yet addressed the media, her parents, Judith and Warren Russell, gave a statement Friday night to the Daily Mail.
“Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child,” they said. “We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriots Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted.”
The couple reportedly shared a home in Rhode Island and rumors are swirling the two had a tumultuous relationship, though that has not been officially confirmed.