Doswell, VA — The Tamerlan Tsarnaev burial reportedly took local officials by surprise, and they will explore the possibility of undoing it if any laws were broken.
The Boston Marathon bombing suspect was laid to rest yesterday in a small Muslim cemetary in Caroline County in central Virginia, about 15 miles from Richmond.
Officials said that the community is generally shocked and stunned about the Tsarnaev burial site in Doswell and will look into any legal avenues that may be available to them. They apparently weren’t even aware of it until their phone started ringing off the hook with media inquiries.
The burial was reportedly arranged by 48-year-old Richmond resident Martha Mullen, who contacted the private cemetery independently after she heard reports on NPR that dozens of burial grounds refused to take the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Said Floyd Thomas, chairman of the board of supervisors of Caroline County: “As long as everything was done legally, there’s really very little we can do. What we would do is make sure that all of the laws regarding this particular burial were adhered to. If they were not, then I believe we would have to look at undoing what happened.”
Noting that he has the obligation to enforce the rights of everyone whether he agrees or not, Sheriff Tony Lippa similarly said, however, that he would follow up to make sure all applicable laws were followed, and if not, he would seek to take measures to have the body removed. The office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is also looking into the matter according to the sheriff.
Lippa also expressed concern about potential public safety issues, adding that the county does not budget for cemetary protection. Defacing a burial site is a felony under Virginia law.
On behalf of his constituents, Supervisor Thomas insisted that “We don’t want the county to be remembered as the resting place for the remains of someone who committed a terrible crime.” Added Thomas: “We have the same feelings as the rest of the country… the same feelings as the folks in Boston have. This is Caroline. You sing Sweet Caroline; we are Caroline.”
A statement from Caroline County Administrator Charles M. Culley Jr. indicated that officials were effectively blindsided by the Tsarnaev burial location: “Caroline County was not consulted or given any input into the decision-making process for determining a burial site for this individual. We would much prefer to be associated with positive news reports from the national media, but unfortunately had no say in the matter.”