Funeral Director Wants Help from Government to Bury Bombing Suspect

Sunday, 05 May 2013 10:10 AM


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The owner of a Boston-area funeral home wants the government to convince a local cemetery to accept the body of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but no officials have stepped forward.

"We have a body for burial that has caused a lot of controversy and we can’t continue to play this game," Peter Stefan, owner of the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, told the Boston Herald. "Under normal circumstances, the government would say it’s (the funeral parlor’s) responsibility to find a place for burial, but this is not normal circumstances. This is a nightmare."

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Protesters demanding the accused bomber's body be shipped out of the United States have gathered outside Stefan's funeral home since Friday, when he accepted Tsarnaev's body.
Stefan said Tsarnaev's family wants him buried in Boston, but he can't find a cemetery willing to take the body, so he's holding the corpse at his business and turning away other funeral arrangements.

Democratic State Sen. Harriet L. Chandler said the federal government — not the state — should handle the problem.

But the U.S. State Department says it's not involved in the controversy, and referred all calls to the FBI. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has declined comment.

Edith Flynn, a Northeastern University professor emeritus and terrorism expert, said the government should arrange to fly Tsarnaev's body back to the North Caucaus region and let his parents arrange his burial.

“Look at the choice. Do you want to use taxpayer dollars to help fix a vandalized cemetery or get rid of the body in the most convenient way that would rid us of the problem for good?” Flynn said.

Stefan's funeral home is familiar with Muslim services.

"My problem here is trying to find a gravesite. A lot of people don't want to do it. They don't want to be involved with this," said Stefan. "I keep bringing up the point of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh or Ted Bundy. Somebody had to do those, too."

The Associated Press contributed to this article

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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