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Watertown family finds bombing suspect in boat

The Watertown couple who discovered Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev in their boat Friday had just stepped outside for a breath of fresh air when they found him, according to their son.

The couple spent Friday stuck inside their Franklin Street residence under a stay-at-home order as authorities combed their neighborhood, said Robert Duffy, who identified himself as the son and stepson of the couple.

“When the in-house ban was lifted, [my mother] needed some air,” said Duffy, 45, of Natick, who added that his mother is currently receiving chemotherapy.

“She and my stepfather . . . walked outside . . . and [he] noticed the tarp on the boat was free and blowing around a bit.”


Duffy said that his stepfather noticed that the cords securing the tarp had been cut.

According to Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis, the boat owner lifted the tarp and looked inside the boat. He later told Davis, “I saw blood and a body in there.”

Duffy said his stepfather told him that there was a pool of blood around the suspect.

The man called police. Officers swarmed the yard and evacuated the couple, who left their cellphones behind, said Duffy, who was frantically trying to reach them.

“It was an absolute nightmare for about 40 minutes,” he said.

Duffy later received a call from an unknown number, and when he answered, he heard his mother’s voice, telling him that they were safe.

“I’m just relieved,” he said after Tsarnaev was apprehended. “I can’t even tell you, I think I aged 10 years in a matter of minutes.”

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson@