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Body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect claimed

Anzor Tsarnaev (L) and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston bomb
Anzor Tsarnaev (L) and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston bomb

By Ross Kerber and Jim Finkle

BOSTON (Reuters) - The body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was claimed on behalf of his family on Thursday, an official said.

Tsarnaev's body had been kept at a Boston facility for more than a week after he was killed in a shootout with police on April 19, four days after the attack on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264 people.

Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts, said a funeral services company retained by the family had claimed the body. Harris declined to provide details including the cause of death or where the body had been taken.

Tsarnaev's younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured by authorities on April 19 after the shootout in Watertown, Massachusetts. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has been charged with crimes in connection with the bombing that could carry the death penalty if he is convicted, and is being held at a prison medical facility in Devens, Massachusetts.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was 26 years old. On Tuesday, his widow, Katherine Russell, said through an attorney that she wished his remains to be released to the Tsarnaev family. Russell's attorney could not immediately be reached on Thursday.

Investigators have questioned Russell as they seek clues about how the ethnic Chechen brothers allegedly built the two bombs used in the attack and whether they had help.

The suspects' parents previously lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but have since returned to Russia. Other relatives remain in the United States, including an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Maryland, who has been seen in Rhode Island in recent days.

Officials said on Thursday that three men who had been charged with interfering with the investigation of the bombing were in custody at a jail in Middleton, Massachusetts, a small town about 20 miles North of Boston.

The three 19-year-olds - Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos - had been transported to the Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton on Wednesday after they were charged in Boston. Authorities have described them as college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

(Additional reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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