Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Woman 'Heartbroken' by Brothers' Alleged Acts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Woman 'Heartbroken' by Brothers' Alleged Acts

Article excerpt

The massive investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing took a dramatic turn into northern New Jersey on Friday, as federal agents interviewed one of the sisters of the suspects at her West New York apartment and searched for their other sister in Fairview.

About a dozen agents from the FBI spent five hours at one sister's Buchanan Place home in West New York, leaving about 4 p.m. after questioning her, removing a computer and cellphones. Later, local police hauled away several black plastic bags full of items.

The woman was cooperating with federal investigators, said Michael E. Indri, director of police in West New York. He called her "heartbroken and shocked."

Indri said she told investigators she had not been in contact with her brothers for some time, but officials took her computer and hand-held devices, like cellphones, to look for past communications. He did not give her name, but public records show a 22-year-old woman by the name of Ailina Tsarnaev at that address, who also goes by Amina.

No one emerged from her home after her brother's capture Friday to talk to about a dozen members of the media clustered on the sidewalk outside the three-story apartment building.

But West New York Mayor Felix Roque went into her apartment at 9 p.m. After he left 15 minutes later, he spoke briefly, but declined to discuss the meeting.

"It's not easy for them," he said. "I don't want to comment too much. This is a human tragedy. My goal as the mayor is to take care of them. They're residents of West New York."

Several police officers continued to stand guard outside the apartment building as of 9:30 p.m.

West New York's connection to the investigation became public by midmorning, when a large team of FBI agents in body armor -- some in blue jackets labeled Joint Terrorism Task Force -- converged on her narrow street in a working-class neighborhood.

Shortly before the FBI arrived on Buchanan Place, the sister gave a brief interview to reporters through a slightly opened door of her second-floor apartment. She said she was stunned that her brothers might have been involved in a bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 170.

She referred to her younger brother as an "amazing child" and her older brother as "a great person," "smart" and a "kind, loving man."

"I have no idea what got into them," she said. At one point, she also said she had "no idea" if her brothers actually committed this crime, adding that the media often reported things that proved untrue.

She would not give her name, but spoke of the grief she feels for the victims and their families.

"I'm sorry for the families that lost their loved ones the same way I lost a loved one," she said. "I'm not OK, just like anyone else is not OK. No one is OK right now. ... I want to be left alone."

She said she had not seen or spoken with her brothers in years. …

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