Was Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev schizophrenic? | Mail Online

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 16:36 EST, 16 December 2013 | UPDATED: 19:08 EST, 16 December 2013




Tamerlan Tsarnaev told friends and family that he had two people living in his head and that he believed he was the victim of mind control, a new report reveals

The claims have led some of the people who knew him - including at least one doctor - to speculate that the Boston bomber was schizophrenic and that his April 15 attack on the Boston Marathon was driven in part by his mental illness.

It was also revealed that the Tsarnaevs claimed they came to America after the father was kidnapped and tortured by Russian mobsters who then cut off their dog's head and left it on their doorstep.

After struggling to find a place in America, the older brother Tamerlan turned to conspiracy theories and radical Islam while the younger brother, Dzhokhar started stealing marijuana - earning $1,000 a week and sometimes carrying a gun to protect his stash.

Alienated: Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev became alienated by the failures after a decade living in America, the Boston Globe reports. It is believed that helped drive them to allegedly commit terrorism

The Boston Globe claims that the Tsarneav brothers appear have been motivated less by Islamist ideology and more by their own personal failings and inner demons - making the bombings more like the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater than an al-Qaeda terrorist plot.

Tamerlan, who was 26 when he was killed in a shootout with police, had ambitions of becoming an Olympic boxer and found some success in the ring. But he eventually dropped out of training - just as he dropped out of school time and again.

He became increasingly focused on his Islamic faith and withdrew of society. He stayed home and took care of his daughter and surfed Islamist websites online while his American wife worked as a home care nurse and was responsible for the family income.


He mentioned to several people that he had begun hearing voices.

'He was torn between those two people,' Donald Larking, 67, who attended mosque with Tamerlan for two years, told the Globe.

'He said that several times. And he did not like it.'

The Globe reports that Tamerlan's descent into radical Islam seems to track with him reporting hearing voices and believing that he was under 'mind control.'

Tamerlan, left, had a promising career as a boxer - but eventually gave up the sport

'He believed in majestic mind control, which is a way of breaking down a person and creating an alternative personality with which they must coexist,' Larking said.

'You can give a signal, a phrase or a gesture, and bring out the alternate personality and make them do things. Tamerlan thought someone might have done that to him.'

Tamerlan made comments to his mother about having two people in his head as early as 2008, she admitted to a family friend.

Makhmud 'Max' Mazaev, another family friend who is a urologist, told the Globe that when he heard about Tamerlan's admission, he concluded that he likely suffered from schizophrenia.

Despite Dr Mazaev's advice, Tamerlan's parents never sought mental health treatment for him.

The report gives some insight about what drove the two brothers to allegedly plant a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this spring.

The blasts killed three and injured more than 260 people. The brothers then allegedly murdered an MIT campus police officer three days later as they engaged police in a running gun battle.

Tamerlan was killed and Dzhokar was badly wounded by arrested after a daylong manhunt that shut down the city of Boston. 

The Tsarnaev family moved to Boston from Kyrgastan after claiming that they were being persecuted because they were Chechen Muslims.

Tamerlan and Dzhokar's mother Zubeidat told friends and neighbors that she and her husband Anzor were lawyers in their native land and that Anzor worked as a prosecutor, according to the Globe.

The brothers allegedly plotted the April 15 bomb attack together. Three people died and more than 260 were wounded in the twin Boston Marathon bombings

Zubeidat claimed that when Anzor tried to prosecute a Russian mob boss, the gangster kidnapped Anzor and tortured him for a week.

Before they dropped him, barely alive at a hospital, the mobsters killed the family's German Shepherd and dumped its head on the family doorstep, according to this story.

'Zubeidat went to the hospital and when she saw how horribly beaten he was she said that she realized they had to get out of the country,' a family friend told the Globe.

The Globe posits that none of that story was likely true. Neither Zubeidat nor Anzor had law degrees, the newspaper reports.

It's likely that Anzor had been smuggling cigarettes and fell afoul of the local organized crime syndicate, friends say.

Alternatively - the family saw the glamorous life in America portrayed in Hollywood movies and decided they wanted a piece of it.

Surrender: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, seen bloody and wounded, was captured after he was found hiding in a boat days after the bombing

Anzor's brother was already in the United States - finding success as a lawyer. 

The family submitted an application requesting asylum, claiming that they had been persecuted in their homeland for being Chechen Muslims.

'He made that up … so that the Americans would give him a visa,' Badrudi Tsokaev, a family friend say of claims that Anzor had been persecuted.

Mark Kramer, a Harvard University researcher who frequently testifies in asylum cases for family from post-Soviet states said he found 'no basis for being granted asylum at all' in the Tsarnaev case.

In America, the family fell apart - despite grand ambitions. Neither of the parents was able to find success. 

In August 2011, Anzor and Zubeidat divorced. Anzor returned to Dagestan in Russia. Zubeidat soon moved back there, as well.

Failed family: Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the suspected bombers, (right) told neighbors that the boys' father Anzor (left) had been kidnapped and tortured - causing them to flee the country

Dzokhar, meanwhile, became obsessed with drugs. In high school, he had been captain of the wrestling team and a decent student.

He smoked a lot of marijuana in high school, friends said, but once he went away to college, he began selling it.

He flaunted his stash, weighing it out on the desk in his door open. At the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, he gained a reputation as having some of the best weed on campus, the Globe reports. 

Friends said he often hauled in $1,000 a week in cash. He sometimes carried a handgun to protect the stash, too, friends told the newspaper.

But his fast lifestyle and focus on drugs meant his grades were sinking rapidly. He had a D average and was on the verge of being kicked out of school when he and his brother allegedly planted the bombs in April.

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