Tamerlan Tsarnaev's uncle is in Massachusetts to arrange his burial, but four cemeteries have refused to bury him and protesters have set up camp outside the funeral parlor where his body is being held. NBC's Katy Tur reports.
The family of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect killed in a shootout with police can’t find a place to bury him, even as his body is being prepared for just that purpose.
An uncle of suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev arrived in Worcester, Mass., on Sunday to “prepare the body” of his nephew for burial.
Ruslan Tsarni, of Mongomery Village, Md., came to the city about 40 miles west of Boston with three other men, who were not family members, and met with the director of the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors.
The men who joined Tsarni were planning "religious washings" in accordance with Muslim burial rites on 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, the funeral director Peter Stefan said.
Stefan said he and the family have been unable to find a cemetery in Massachusetts willing to take the body. Still, though he’s had "no offers" of a cemetery, he expects the suspect will be buried in the state.
"We have to bury this guy,” Stefan told reporters in an impromptu news conference Sunday. "Whatever it is, whoever he is, in this country, we bury people. I don't care who it is. That's what I do.”
A small number of demonstrators had protested at the funeral home over the weekend, holding signs and chanting "USA!" One sign read: "Do not bury him on U.S. soil."
According to The Associated Press, several people drove by the funeral home Sunday and yelled, including one man who shouted, "Throw him off a boat like Osama bin Laden!"
Apparently in response to those protests, Stefan remarked, "I can't separate sins from sinners. I can't pick and choose. This is what we do."
For his part, the uncle said that Cambridge, Mass., was Tsarnaev’s home, not the southern Russian republics of his roots.
“He lived in America, he grew up here,” Tsarni said. “Any contemplations that his body should be taken to his home country, they cannot believe. His home country was indeed Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
Stefan said he is planning to ask the city of Cambridge to provide a burial plot, and if Cambridge turns him down, he will seek help from state officials.
Shortly after Tamerlan and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar were identified as suspects in the bombings that killed three and injured more than 200, Tsarni said the brothers may have been motivated by shame and hatred.
“Being losers, hatred to those who were able to settle themselves,” Tsarni said at the time.
Dzhokhar, 19, remains in a prison hospital while he awaits legal proceedings on federal terrorism charges. He could face the death penalty.
NBC News' Alexandra Moe and The Associated Press contributed to this report.