With the news of three additional suspects in federal custody, questions remain about the motive for the Boston Marathon bombing and whether the attack involved conspirators beyond the Tsarnaev brothers. But an account from an acquaintance of the suspects—a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth who was once romantically involved with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself—helps shed light on the individuals now at the center of the investigation.
The woman, who lived in the same dorm at UMass–Dartmouth as Tsarnaev during the 2011-12 academic year, told Mother Jones that she first met and had a "fleeting fling" with the bombing suspect during the fall of 2011. Around the same time, she says, she met Tsarnaev's college buddies Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos, the men now accused of helping Tsarnaev dispose of evidence and lying to investigators after the bombing.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, the woman said, were part of a group of about five Russian-speaking friends at the university whom Tsarnaev was never without.
"They all sort of idolized Jahar," she said, using the name she and others knew Tsarnaev by. "Dias was probably the one closest to him." She said that of the friends, Tsarnaev was the most popular and in touch with campus social life. "I cannot speak to the nature of their relationship because of the language barrier, however I did observe that Jahar was always the leader in his group." ...
She got to know the group, she said, while hanging around campus with them, smoking pot and listening to music. She says her romantic relationship with Tsarnaev lasted for about two weeks. "I met him standing outside a building and honestly, his face was enough to capture my heart," she explained, noting that lots of women fawned over him. "I walked right up to him and I was like, 'Oh my God, you are adorable. Can we hang out?' I'm very forward."
Her nascent romance with Tsarnaev soon soured, though, after he invited her to come to his dorm room alone. "He wanted to go further than I did, and that made me uncomfortable, and I realized that that's not the kind of person that I wanted to be around," she says. "I don't think that's necessarily being a terrorist. I think that's just called being a hands-y teenaged boy."