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Pressure-cooker lid, other pieces tied to Boston marathon bombing found

April 17, 2013|By Michael Muskal and Molly Hennessy-Fiske

BOSTON – Investigators on Wednesday carefully combed the scene around the two explosions that tore through the Boston Marathon, part of what is expected to be a long investigation to identify who was responsible for the act of terrorism.

Investigators have reportedly found more pieces of the devices that killed at three and injured more than 170 people in two explosions near the finish line of the marathon Monday.

Reports on Wednesday from the Associated Press and CNN said that authorities have recovered the lid of a pressure cooker that apparently housed the explosives. The Boston Globe and others have reported that a piece of circuit board has been found and is believed to be part of the triggering mechanism for the bomb.

The latest finds join the scraps of black nylon -- perhaps from a backpack -- and fragments of BBs and nails possibly contained in a pressure-cooker device previously identified by forensic experts. All of the pieces of the puzzle will be sent to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., for analysis.

There are no “specific suspect or targets,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday morning in an interview with WBUR. While “every hour, every day” brings investigators “a little closer” to finding out who was responsible, Patrick said everyone needs to “settle down and settle in for a long, painstaking investigation.”

“This is the kind of investigation that requires picking up tiny pieces [of evidence] and scouring blocks ... a square inch at a time,” said the governor in the radio interview.

Even as officials pressed with the investigation, life slowly tried to return to normal in Boston. A bright sunny day reflected the growing optimism of a city coming back to life. Lines on the commuter rails were normal again.  Even those who work in the Copley Square area, the scene of the explosions, said there were just minimal disruptions.

That upbeat feeling was also reflected by Patrick, who predicted next year's Boston Marathon will be “bigger and better” than ever.

“And the one after that and the one after that, for the next 117 years, will be its own living memorial to the resilience of this community and that civic ritual,” Patrick said.

The FBI and other investigators have appealed to the public for any video or photographs taken at the marathon. Officials have said they are examining more that 2,000 tips received so far and are seeking public help in generating more leads.

“Importantly, the person who did this is someone’s friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative. We are asking anyone who may have heard someone speak about the marathon, or the date of April 15, in any way that indicated that he or she may have targeted the event to call us,” FBI special agent in charge Richard DesLauriers said at the Tuesday briefing.

“Someone knows who did this,” he told reporters.

Among photos from the scene under review are two given by WHDH of Boston by a witness. The first picture shows a bag next to a mailbox along a barricade on the marathon route. The second — which the station said it had blurred because of its graphic nature — appears to show no sign of the bag.

Other photos show what appears to be a mangled metal pot.

Officials have said they believe the explosive devices were similar to the kind used in attacks in the Mideast and a failed bombing in New York City’s Times Square. Instructions for the construction have been widely distributed on the Internet.

The devices are essentially pressure cookers, packed with some sort of explosive and bits of metal and shrapnel designed to maim. The device is usually triggered with a circuit. In Boston, the devices were likely transported in black nylon bags and were heavy, a clue for witnesses, officials have said.

The number of injured has climbed to more than 170, including about 70 victims still hospitalized, 19 in critical condition.

At Beth Israel Deaconess, officials said Wednesday morning that 11 patients have been discharged from among the 24 admitted since Monday. Two were critical and two were serious. Three limbs have been amputated, officials said.

At a morning news conference, Dr. Peter Burke, head of trauma services at Boston Medical Center, said the number of those in critical condition at his facility has fallen.

“We had 10 or 11 we considered critical, now we only have two,” he told reporters. “Most patients are making good progress but we will not be happy until they are home.”

Boston Medical Center has 19 patients, two critical, 10 serious, seven fair, he said. They plan to release two more later on Wednesday.

The tragedy of the bombing includes the amputations of runners’ limbs. At Boston Medical Center, they have performed seven amputations on five patients, Burke said. Two were double amputees.

The center did 16 operations in the first 18 hours, five operations on Tuesday, and more are planned. “In the beginning it's about saving people's lives -- now it's about healing people's wounds,” Burke said.

“Humans are very resilient,” he said.

Hundreds of Bostonians attended vigils for the three dead, including an 8-year-old boy, Martin Smith; a woman, Krystle Campbell; and a Chinese graduate student at Boston University.

President Obama is scheduled to visit Boston on Thursday and participate at a memorial for the victims of the bombing.

 ALSO:

Third marathon victim was a graduate student from China  

Boston Marathon bombs: Crude, unsophisticated but still deadly

Boston bombing: FBI photos show black bag and pressure cooker

Staff writers Noam N. Levey, Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Andrew Tangel and Alana Semuels reported from Boston. Muskal was in Los Angeles.

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