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In Russia, U.S. investigators traveled to the predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan and were in contact with the brothers’ parents, hoping to gain more information.
Investigators are looking into whether Tamerlan, who spent six months in Russia’s turbulent Caucasus region in 2012, was influenced by the religious extremists who have waged an insurgency against Russian forces in the area for years. The brothers have roots in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya but had lived in the U.S. for about a decade.
A spokesman for the Office of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts confirmed a Boston Herald report Wednesday that Tamerlan, his wife and their daughter had received welfare benefits until last year, when he became ineligible based on family income.
The state also said Tsarnaev and his brother received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.
At MIT, bagpipes wailed as students, faculty and staff members and throngs of law enforcement officials paid their respects to MIT police Officer Sean Collier, who was ambushed in his cruiser three days after the bombing.
The line of mourners stretched for a half-mile. They had to make their way through tight security, including metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.
Boston native James Taylor sang "The Water is Wide" and led a sing-along of "Shower the People."
Biden told the Collier family that no child should die before his or her parents, but that, in time, the grief will lose some of its sting.
"The moment will come when the memory of Sean is triggered and you know it’s going to be OK," Biden said. "When the first instinct is to get a smile on your lips before a tear to your eye."
The vice president also sounded a defiant note.
"The purpose of terror is to instill fear," he said. "You saw none of it here in Boston. Boston, you sent a powerful message to the world."
In another milestone in Boston’s recovery, the area around the marathon finish line was reopened to the public, with fresh cement still drying on the repaired sidewalk. Delivery trucks made their way down Boylston Street under a heavy police presence, though some damaged stores were still closed.
"I don’t think there’s going to be a sense of normalcy for a while," Tom Champoux, who works nearby, said as he pointed to the boarded-up windows. "There are scars here that will be with us for a long time."
Jakes and Apuzzo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers David Crary, Bridget Murphy and Bob Salsberg in Boston, Lynn Berry in Moscow and Kimberly Dozier, Adam Goldman, Eric Tucker, Pete Yost and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.
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