Widow and Father of Ibragim Todashev Speak Out

While unnamed officials continue to tell the media that Ibragim Todashev "implicated" himself in the killing of three men in Boston in 2011, his wife (from whom he was separated) and father are speaking out and disputing the media allegations.

Ms. Manukyan, an Armenian who converted to Islam before marrying Mr. Todashev, says she met her late husband in 2010 through a mutual friend in Boston. She says she separated from Mr. Todashev last November but was still in regular contact with him and was partly supporting him through their joint bank account. She says she saw him last week when he came to visit her in Atlanta and spoke to him this week.


Manukyan lives in Georgia. She says she was also questioned repeatedly by the FBI. They never mentioned a murder. She also confirms the account given yesterday by Todashev's friend as to the incessant following of Todashev:

Ms. Manukyan says her husband told her the FBI showed up at his house in Florida shortly after the marathon bombings. "He was outside of his house—the place where he was shot last night—in his backyard, talking on the phone with somebody, and out of nowhere they came and put him on the ground and handcuffed him and took him to the FBI office," she said.

Ms. Manukyan says that kicked off a series of interactions with U.S. authorities that were becoming increasingly frustrating for her husband.

"They let him go but they took his computer and his phone. For the whole day they were holding his phone and the computer," Ms. Manukyan said of the first day Mr. Todashev was interrogated.

"Then they were just contacting him pretty much every day, and they were following him every single day, everywhere he goes there were a couple cars right behind him on his tail," she said he had told her. "They were all over what he was doing, pretty much."

Ms. Manukyen doubts her husband had anything to do with the 2011 murders. He didn't drink, smoke or use drugs. While he was in Boston for the summer of 2011, she thinks he returned in September, before the murders. The past few months, he couldn't walk due to knee surgery.

"He couldn't walk," Ms. Manukyan said. "He couldn't even go get water for himself, because he wasn't able to walk with his knee. And that's when he talked to Tamerlan, who talked to him after the surgery, but before that phone call, he hasn't called him for years."

She says Todashev and Tamerlan were not good friends, but acquaintances who knew each other from their shared interest in martial arts.

As to how she met Todashev:

Ms. Manukyan, an Armenian who converted to Islam before marrying Mr. Todashev, says she met her late husband in 2010 through a mutual friend in Boston.

(Aside: I wonder if she knows Misha.)

Todashev's father says:

He was supposed to be on a plane tomorrow, but he told me he had to meet with the FBI,” the father, Abdulbaki Todashev, said in an emotional telephone interview from Grozny, Russia, today. “I asked him what the meeting was about, and he told me it was in connection with the terrorist attack in Boston.”

Why did the FBI and Mass police go to Todashev's house so late at night to interrogate him, when they had already spoken to him so many times? According to his friend, they were trying to persuade him not to leave for Russia.

FBI interviews aren't usually recorded. I doubt we'll ever know what transpired during the interview. We'll only get self-serving statements by law enforcement that justify their actions.

That some of these law enforcement officials use the words "implicated himself" as opposed to "confessed" in relation to the killings doesn't mean Todashev acknowledged a role in the killings. If he was in Boston, it could mean something as little as Tamerlan called him that night and asked him to pick him up and give him a ride, or that Tamerlan later gave him some items that would link Tamerlan to the killings. Since Tamerlan is dead, he can't defend himself against the murder charges law enforcement seems determined to attach to him. (Neither can Todashev.) Even if they find Tamerlan's DNA at the home of the murdered men, it doesn't mean he was involved in the murder. Since Tamerlan and one of the victims were good friends, if the DNA is just found somewhere in the home or on clothes or a drinking cup, it could have been deposited prior to the day of the killings.

I am not buying the unconfirmed report that he suddenly went beserk when asked to sign a written confession. Or that he confessed to the murders. He may have said something that the agents believed to be incriminating, but that doesn't mean Todashev intended it that way or agreed with their interpretation.

I don't doubt that he "got volatile" at the end -- FBI agents don't execute people for no reason. (Whether the shooting was an overreaction is another question.) But as to what set him off, it could be that after whatever he said that the agent thought was incriminating, the agent told him he was being arrested for the murders, and he reacted angrily because he believed he was being unjustly accused.

I also wonder whether the FBI went to Todashev's house after midnight not to "request" that he not leave for Russia, but to tell him that if he left for Russia, they would ask Russia to detain him on arrival or the U.S. would seek his extradition on the murder case. While Todashev's friend said he had already canceled his flight due to the FBI's "request" he not go to Russia, perhaps he didn't tell the FBI he had done so, leaving his options open, and it was their threat to interfere with his planned trip that set him off.

He may also have felt tricked by the FBI:

[Khusan] Taramov, a fellow Chechan and immigrant from Russia, said his slain friend had been called almost daily by agents since the bombings, but had been assured that the Tuesday night interview would be the final one.

“They told us they needed just one more interview,” he said. “They said the case was closed after this.” Fearful it would make them look suspicious, neither he nor Todashev had a lawyer present during the FBI questioning, Taramov said.

After a month of being shadowed and questioned, having his computer searched, told not to travel, told Tuesday would be his last interview before closing the case, and having his repeated denials of knowledge about the Boston bombings falling on deaf ears, only to then be accused of participating in three murders, is it really that shocking he would feel powerless and lose his composure?

Also, if he was at a table (or on a couch) being questioned by three or four officers (at least one FBI agent, two Mass. police officers and perhaps other cops), if he reached for a knife, why couldn't they overpower him to protect themselves? How many agents does it take to subdue a suspect -- especially one who can't walk? Was shooting him really necessary? Or did the FBI agent overreact?

Todashev's father is "a department head in the mayor’s office in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya." He said "his son had no reason to fear repression or persecution in Chechnya." He was coming home for his first visit in five years -- not moving back to Russia. He was keeping his apartment and leaving his car in Florida.

Todashev had a girlfriend. Guess what happened to her?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested ­Todashev’s girlfriend, Tatiana Gruzdeva, May 16 on immigration violations, said a law enforce­ment official. An ICE spokesman confirmed that she is in custody.

Is this her? She's friends with Khusen Taramov, Todashev's friend who has been defending him in the media. And her last day online on her Russian FB page was May 16.

The continuous following and shadowing of people based on their shared ethnicity and association with a known suspect, seems like harassment to me.

An FBI review team is in Orlando is on site investigating Todashev's killing. I expect the agent and cops will tell the same story and because there likely was no recording, they will be taken them at their word.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Sickening behavior by law enforcement IMO (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by TycheSD on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:51:22 PM EST
    It was plain stupid to kill this guy.  I doubt whether he confessed or implicated Tsarnaev.  I don't buy the whole thing, and I'm distrusting this bombing investigation more all the time because law enforcement seems too eager to 1) Accuse the Tsarnaevs of as many crimes as possible 2) Kill suspects, and 3) Try to widen the investigation to every Chechen person who ever lived in the Boston area.

    Uh..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by redwolf on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:32:10 PM EST
    "FBI agents don't execute people for no reason."

    Randy Weaver would beg to differ.
    "Weaver's back was to FBI HRT sniper Lon Horiuchi. Horiuchi aimed to sever Weaver's spine for an instant kill. Weaver moved in the last split second as Horiuchi fired and the bullet entered Weaver's right shoulder and exited the armpit."

    Off topic (none / 0) (#2)
    by Yman on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:52:49 PM EST
    ... not to mention the false premise ("for no reason").

    Redwolf was quoting Jeralyn, Yman... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Anne on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:56:42 PM EST
    I think the whole thing's fishy - there's too much that just makes no sense.

    I agree (none / 0) (#7)
    by Yman on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:45:31 PM EST
    The circumstances do sound strange, but my disagreement was Redwolf's claim that Randy Weaver was shot "for no reason".

    stay on topic, it's (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:52:08 PM EST
    not Randy Weaver. It's the Boston Marathon case.

    Isn't the methodology (none / 0) (#11)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:54:35 PM EST
    used by the police in any case, Randy Weaver as "an example," relevant to the Boston Marathon case?

    I think it is.


    Not before there are more facts (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:41:23 PM EST
    about what the FBI says happened in this case. So far there are unconfirmed anonymously sourced police reports and news articles backtracking from those media reports.

    Please stick to this case. Randy Weaver is not on topic.


    Another Florida Self Defense Case? (none / 0) (#5)
    by RickyJim on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:14:22 PM EST
    But totally different factors that made Martin/Zimmerman so notorious are in play here.  Can anybody imagine big demonstrations demanding the indictment of the FBI agent?

    only if the family (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:52:56 PM EST
    hires Team Crump. Back on topic now please.

    Ouch (none / 0) (#12)
    by bmaz on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:09:41 PM EST
    And quite well played.

    About the alleged DNA evidence (none / 0) (#14)
    by TycheSD on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:27:32 PM EST
    Authorities talk like (or at least leak like) they have solid DNA evidence of either the two Tsarnaevs and/or Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Ibragim Todashev from the crime scene.  If so, why did the DA today say that the case is still open and they are still investigating?  http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/05/da_waltham_triple_murder_by_no_means_clo sed

    I have read elsewhere that they are still waiting for definitive DNA results from Quantico.  How long would this take?  I believe they started investigating Tamerlan's possible involvement around April 23.  It's possible that the FBI didn't get involved until more recently.

    look at the good side (none / 0) (#15)
    by bellasue02 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:22:45 PM EST
    At least in all of this the FBI got some practice in on locking down a town and raiding people's houses.  This might come in handy in the future. Oh yeah that was to search for the kid that the dogs couldn't find hiding in a boat.