BOSTON // The dispute over where to bury the Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has escalated, with a police chief urging someone to step forward and provide a cemetery plot.
"We are not barbarians. We bury the dead," said the Worcester police chief, Gary Gemme, a day after he revealed that a deal struck on Monday to bury the 26-year-old's remains at a state prison site had fallen apart, with state officials withdrawing co-operation.
Police officials said it was costing the department tens of thousands of dollars to provide security at the funeral home where Tsarnaev's body is being stored.
Mr Gemme said sending the body to Russia, Tsarnaev's homeland, was "not an option".
The Boston mayor, Thomas Menino, has said through an aide that he did not want the bombing suspect buried in the city. Peter Stefan, the director of the funeral home, has said none of the 120 offers of graves from the US and Canada have worked out because officials in those cities and towns do not want the body either.
Authorities believe Tsarnaev and his brother carried out the bombings on April 15 near the finish line of the marathon, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards.
The attack killed three people and injured more than 260.
Tsarnaev died during a gun battle with police. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was captured after a massive manhunt. He is in a prison hospital, facing charges that could bring the death penalty.
Tamerlan's body was released by the state medical examiner on May 1 and has been in limbo since then.
An expert in US burial law said the resistance to a burial is unprecedented in a country that has always found a way to lay to rest even its most notorious killers, including Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot and killed the president John F Kennedy in 1963, and Adam Lanza, who gunned down 20 children and six teachers at a school in Connecticut last year.
"It's very unusual that people are so fixated on this," said Tanya Marsh, a Wake University professor. "There are a lot of evil people buried in marked graves in the United States.
"Traditionally in the United States ... when somebody dies, that's the end of their punishment."
In Russia, officials refused to comment after Tsarnaev's mother said the authorities there would not allow her son's body into the country so she could bury him in her native Dagestan. A solution may be found under Massachusetts law, which requires a community to provide a grave for someone "dying within its limits".
US law-enforcement officials have been trying to determine whether Tamerlan was indoctrinated or trained by militants during a 2012 visit to Dagestan, a Russian province that has become the centre of a simmering Islamist insurgency.
The US and Russia have been collaborating on a criminal investigation into the brothers.
Tamerlan's widow has hired a criminal lawyer with experience of defending terrorism cases as she continues to face questions from federal authorities, her attorney, Amato DeLuca, said on Wednesday. He said Katherine Russell had added Joshua Dratel to her legal team. Mr Dratel has represented a number of terrorism suspects.
Mr DeLuca has said Ms Russell had no reason to suspect her husband and his brother. Ms Russell, 24, married Tamerlan in 2010, and they lived together with their 2-year-old daughter when the bombing took place.