Caroline remembers controversial bombing suspect burial - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Caroline remembers controversial Boston Marathon bombing suspect burial


The Caroline gravesite of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects has remained largely untouched a year after the deadly attack.

Sheriff Tony Lippa says despite a peaceful protest at the grave site last year, there have been no issues.

Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is buried at a Muslim cemetery near Doswell. A Richmond woman helped arrange the burial, which caused outrage across Caroline.

Cemetery owners did not want to speak about the burial, but they did say Tsarnaev's uncle attended the burial last year and received a permit to visit the site at any time. This time last year there were concerns from some in the town. Now, the cemetery is blocked by a gate and a sign says visitors are only allowed with a permit.

"There's still that thought of 'What will happen next?'" said Carolina resident David Upshaw.

Sheriff Lippa says there has been no vandalism or problems at the cemetery, but the apprehension among some folks in town still exists.

"We as a community feel so many localities would not allow this to happen in their locality, Caroline was not given that chance. We were not given an option," Upshaw added.

"I think it's because Caroline County is a very conservative county and a very religious county and the Muslim fact probably upset some of the people," said area pastor Keith Boyer.

He says time has healed the wounds that frustrated so many when news of Tsarnaev's burial here first hit.

"I don't think anything's been said about it since within a couple of months of that happening," he said.

In fact, it's become an "out of sight, out of mind" experience for many here.

"I think it would've been harder for the people that lived up north to have his body up there. Knowing that's where the tragedy occurred," resident Bettie Brezee said.

"I mean, he had to be buried somewhere," resident Katrina Price added.

That was the original sentiment of Martha Mullen, the Richmond woman who said she coordinated the burial with the Muslim site in the name of humanity.

Faith leaders say as a result of Tsarnaev's burial, they've come together by holding monthly meetings to discuss what's happening in their community and how to respond in unexpected situations.

The cemetery owners say their sympathy and prayers go out to the victims of the Boston bombings.

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