katherine russellWhile suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev awaits questioning in a Cambridge hospital, the focus is turning to the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It's hard to believe, but Tamerlan was a husband and a father. His wife, 24-year-old Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, grew up as an average, all-American girl in Rhode Island.

How did she get involved with Tamerlan, and how much did she know? Investigators are trying to find out. Here's what we know about her so far.

  1. Katherine is the oldest of three daughters. Her father is an emergency room physician, and her mother is a nurse. She grew up in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, where her parents still live.
  2. In high school she was on the dance team and in the art club. Her yearbook motto read, "Do something about it or stop complaining."
  3. In the fall of 2007, Katherine enrolled at Suffolk University in Boston. School records show she stopped attending in the spring of 2010 without graduating.
  4. Sometime in 2009 Katherine was introduced through friends to Tamerlan at a night club.
  5. In July 2009 Tamerlan was arrested for domestic abuse and battery of Katherine at the home they shared. In an interview she described Tamerlan as a "very nice man."
  6. Katherine married Tamerlan either later that year or in 2010, when she was 21. She converted to Islam, Tamerlan later told a relative, "because she believes in the tenets of Islam and the Koran. She believes in God." Friends were shocked by her transformation. One says, "She was just this All-American girl who was brainwashed by her super-religious husband. Nobody understands what happened to her."
  7. Around this time, Katherine and Tamerlan's daughter, Zahara, was born. She is now about 3 years old.
  8. Tamerlan, Katherine, and Zahara spent nearly every weekend with Katherine's parents in Rhode Island.
  9. Katherine worked 70 to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tamerlan stayed home, caring for their daughter. According to her lawyer, she knew nothing of her husband's alleged terrorism plans. She found out he was a suspect of the bombings on TV.
  10. Katherine has been staying at her parents' house since her husband's death. Feds visited her Sunday evening and plan to interview her soon.

Yesterday, Katherine's family released the following statement:

Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child.

We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriot's Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlane Tsarnaev.

Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted.

Please respect our family's privacy in this difficult time. 


Do you think Katherine had any idea that her husband might have been planning a terrorist attack?

 

Image via ABC News