In the days following the identification of Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, law enforcement and media outlets scrambled to figure out just what -- or who -- had motivated the young men to allegedly plan and carry out the attack.
Last week, a mysterious character known as "Misha" or "Mischa" became the target of much speculation, as family members, such as the brothers' uncle Ruslan Tsarni, accused him of radicalizing the suspects.
In an interview with NBC News, Tsarni said Misha was a Russian of Armenian descent, a convert to Islam and an “exorcist” who specialized in “removing demons from people’s bodies.” (The Week even called Misha an "Islamic Svengali.")
Now, it appears Misha has been found, and he lives a relatively quiet life with his parents.
The New York Review of Books' Christian Caryl tracked down Misha -- whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov -- in a nondescript neighborhood in Rhode Island.
Allakhverdov is 39, "of medium height and has a thin, reddish-blond beard," according to Caryl. A convert to Islam, Allakhverdov categorically denies any radical beliefs.
“I wasn’t his teacher," Allakhverdov said, speaking of the older suspect, Tamerlan. "If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this."
Allakhverdov also said he has not had any contact with Tamerlan for three years and has been cooperating with the FBI in the investigation.
Indeed, on April 27 officials close to the FBI investigation told the Associated Press they had found nothing to tie Allakhverdov to terrorist organizations or causes.
The AP had previously stated, "Tamerlan's relationship with Misha could be a clue in understanding the motives behind his religious transformation and, ultimately, the attack itself."
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