Why You Shouldn't Get Worked Up About The Female DNA On The Tsarnaevs' Pressure Cooker Bombs

by
Owen Poindexter
Reports surfaced yesterday that the DNA of a female had been detected on one of the homemade bombs used by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Immediately, speculation stirred about the possibility that Katherine Russell, Tamerlan's wife could have been involved.


Female DNA on the Tsarnaev brothers' bombs has some wondering if they acted alone. PHOTO: Reuters
 
Reports surfaced yesterday that the DNA of a female had been detected on one of the homemade bombs used by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Immediately, speculation stirred about the possibility that Katherine Russell, Tamerlan's wife could have been involved.

Here's the problem with that speculation: the scenarios we can imagine in which female DNA got on the bomb in a random, innocent way are much more likely and numerous than any sinister explanations. For example:
 
Russell could have handled the pressure cooker without knowing what it was for; a female sales clerk could have handled the pressure cooker; one of the Tsarnaev brothers could have brushed by a woman on the street and a strand of her hair could have ended up on Jahar's backpack which held a bomb; those backpacks probably weren't new, and could have had a woman's hair or skin from any number of random reasons.

Or, Katherine Russell or another woman could have helped construct the bombs. If that turns out to be the case, the DNA evidence won't be damning. At most it will lead to questioning and further investigations, but from what we know now, there is no compelling reason to believe that the Boston Marathon bombings involved anyone other than the Tsarnaev brothers.

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