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Boston Marathon Bombing: Federal officials deny bombing suspect is in custody

4:33 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Twin explosions at Boston Marathon finish line

Photo Gallery: Boston Marathon Bombing: Day after on Boylston Street

Photo Gallery: Man on the roof photo?

Video: Progress in Boston bomb case, but no arrest

 


Boston Marathon Bombing

Full coverage of the twin bombing terrorist attack that struck the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.


* PICS: Boston bombing explosion pictures
* PICS: Aftermath on Boylston Street
* Boston Marathon Bombing: Casualties, dozens injured after twin explosions at finish line 
* PICTURES: FBI releases images of 2 suspects
* Boy, 8, killed in Boston Marathon blasts
* Restaurant manager also killed
* Chinese grad student third dead victim
* OBAMA "We will find out who did this"
* Transcript of President Obama's immediate remarks
* Bombing "an act of terrorism"
* INVESTIGATION: FBI taking lead in Boston Marathon bombings
* Search is on: Boston Bombing suspect
* FBI in Boston: No known additional threats
* Mass. Gov: No unexploded bombs at Boston Marathon
* VIRAL PIC: Man on roof above Boston blast
* Know someone there?: How to find a marathon runner
* Google Boston Marathon person finder
* VIDEO: 10 News reporter Noah Pransky live from the scene
* Fear and fury from local marathon runner
* PRESSURE COOKERS suspected to have been bomb devices
* People running in remembrance of Boston victims
* Elderly runner seen falling down is unhurt
* Bomb parts pictured in leaked FBI bulletin
* Family Guy Hoax: Show creator condemns bomb-clip mashup
* Who is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
* CAUGHT! Bombing suspect in custody after standoff
* Surviving suspect answers questions in hospital

 

(USA TODAY) -- Investigators reported major progress in the Boston Marathon bombing case Wednesday, but said no arrest had been made, despite conflicting news accounts.

"Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack," the FBI said in a statement. 

"Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."

The Associated Press and CNN had reported earlier that a suspect had been taken into custody.

As media reports spread of a possible arrest, Boston's federal courthouse was jammed with a massive police and media presence and scores of specators. People with cell phone cameras poised to snap a picture of any suspect filled the parking lot.

A message sent to Boston officers on the police scanner, however, said flatly: "Despite reports to the contrary, there has been no arrest." The message added that officers should "remain diligent in our mission."

The reports that officials were zeroing in on a possible suspect came as several news sources said investigators had identified images of a suspect seen delivering one of the explosive devices near the marathon finish line.

CNN's John King quoted law enforcement sources as saying that surveillance video from a nearby Lord &Taylor department store was key in the investigation. Television footage also played a role, CNN reports.

"The camera from Lord & Taylor is the best source of video so far," said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino tells the Boston Globe. "All I know is that they are making progress."

A law enforcement official, who described the investigation as "very active,'' told USA TODAY that authorities have been focusing on a mass of photographic evidence provided by the public and area security cameras. But the source indicated that there mixed views on the value of the analysis so far.

"There is a lot going on," said the official, who is not authorized to comment publicly on the investigation.

As investigators painstakingly gather fragments of evidence from the two explosions that killed three people and injured 176, a lid was recovered from a pressure cooker believed used as one of the explosive devices, a federal law enforcement official said.

The official, who has been briefed on the matter but is not authorized to comment publicly, told USA TODAY the lid was found on a roof near the scene of the blast.

The discovery came as the head of the Department of Homeland Security told a Senate panel in Washington that the Coast Guard worked with the Boston Police Department after Monday's bombings to guard against any potential water-borne attack from Boston Harbor or the Charles River.

Janet Napolitano said officials continue to investigate the bombing with the FBI as a solitary act of terror. 

"There is no current indication to suggest the attack was indicative of a broader plot," Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "But out of an abundance of caution, we continue to keep in place enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen."

At least 12 of those injured in the blast remained in critical condition Wednesday at several area hospitals. Peter Burke, chief trauma surgeon at Boston Medical Center, said two of the 19 patients there still being treated remain in critical condition, including a 5-year-old boy. All, however, are expected to survive, he said.

Burke said patients who required amputations or who lost limbs at the bomb scene are now entering the second phase of their recovery, which is making sure that infection does not set in. "They get injured very quickly, but it takes a long time for people to get better," he said.

At the blast site, evidence investigators from ATF, FBI and other federal agencies wearing protective suits continued poring over the crime scene Wednesday. Evidence trucks and mobile labs fill Exeter Street, the side street off Boylston closest to the blast scenes.

The amount of gunpowder used in the Boston Marathon bombings is believed to be a fraction of the overall weight of the devices, estimated to be about 20 pounds each, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Much of the weight was attributed to the pressure-cooker container and a mix of shrapnel - BB pellets and nail fragments -that cut a deadly path through the crowds gathered near the race finish line, said the official who is not authorized to speak publicly.

The official said the components of the bomb - common kitchen pressure cookers, wire, batteries and gunpowder - are so widely available that barring the assistance of an informant or a telling photo from the crime scene, it will likely take investigators some time to determine where the materials were obtained and who acquired them.

"This is either quick or it's not,'' the official said, referring to the identification of possible suspects, "and right now it's looking like not.''

At the same time, the official said, bomb technicians will likely be able to reconstruct much of the entire device, from both pieces recovered from the scene and the collective knowledge of investigators who have encountered similar devices in past investigations.

"They are going to be able to figure out how this device was acquired,'' the official said. "Depending on the trade craft involved, they will be able to do it relatively easily.''

Boston FBI chief Richard DesLauriers said the recovered materials were being examined at the FBI's laboratory in Quantico, Va., where the bureau has assembled a clearinghouse of IED devices recovered from places ranging from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to crime scenes around the country.

The scene is strewn with shredded T-shirts, metal fragments and glass shards. Boston Police and National Guard soldiers guard every access point, but from the side streets, spectators have watched the investigators at work.

Some evidence is being flown to the FBI lab and will undergo an expedited analysis, FBI spokesman Special Agent Jason Pack said.

The ATF's evidence recovery experts have found blast debris on rooftops and embedded in nearby buildings, Acting ATF Special Agent Eugenio Marquez said.

"It gives the scope of the power of the blast," Marquez said.

The latest discoveries came as investigators appealed to the public for videos and photos of the scene in hopes of getting an image of the person or persons who left the explosive devices near the finish line of the marathon.

Authorities, however, have yet to determine the motive for the bombings and are urging anyone with tips to come forward with information.

"The person who did this was someone's friend, co-worker or neighbor," DesLauriers said. "Somebody knows who did this." No one has claimed responsibility for the atrocity and "the range of suspects and motives remain wide open."

Meanwhile, a Chinese newspaper has identified the third victim of Monday's deadly blast as Lu Lingzi, a Chinese national and graduate student Boston University.

The Shenyang Evening News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, said the victim is from northeastern China.

An editor at the newspaper said that Lu's father confirmed his daughter's death when reporters visited the family home, the Associated Press reported.

Lu, who previously studied international trade at Beijing Institute of Technology, was studying statistics at BU, according to her Facebook page and media reports.

The other two victims were Martin Richard, 8, of Boston, and Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass.

The Chinese Consulate in New York said in a statement Tuesday that another Chinese citizen was wounded and was in stable condition following surgery.

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