Investigators have made little headway — at least publicly — in finding the person or persons responsible for the twin bomb blasts that killed three and maimed dozens on Patriots Day in Boston.
Though the crime scene along Boylston Street in the Copley Square area has been reduced from 15-block radius to 12 blocks, the metropolitan area remains on high alert.
The investigation into the Boston Marathon Bomb attacks is taking place minute by minute. Several persons of interest have been questioned, including a Saudi national living in Revere, and FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers has vowed go miles beyond this area to find those responsible.
“This will be a worldwide investigation," DesLauriers said. "We will go to the ends of the earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime, as we will do whatever we can to bring them to justice.”
No one has come forward to claim credit for the explosions. And whoever is responsible for murdering three bystanders and maiming 176 others is still somewhere out there. And that has prompted police in the metropolitan area to beef up its presence.
"I'm speaking to the public," said Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben. "You are going to see an enhanced presence from the Boston Police, from the State Police, from the National Guard, and from our law enforcement partners from throughout the metropolitan Boston area over the next days and probably longer. That's not for any particular reason other than to provide some comfort to the public who are using transportation centers or going about their business. So we are engaged with the MBTA Police in the T. You'll see more troopers there, you'll see National Guardsmen there, you'll see MBTA Police like you do every day. But that presence will be significantly enhanced."
And that show of force was on display on the red line at Park Street Station, where National Guardsmen patrolled with dogs and weapons of war. And how long will the national Guardsmen be here, Gov. Deval Patrick was asked.
“When they’re not needed anymore,” Patrick replied. "The job of the National Guard right now is to secure the crime scene. The other thing the National Guard is doing with the random bag checks in the T, and that'll continue for the next day or so, anyhow."
“Some of our activity you’ll see, some if it you won’t,” said DesLauriers. "We are asking the public to remain alert and to alert us of the following activity: any individual who expressed a desire to target the marathon; suspicious interest in researching how to create explosive devices; the noise of explosions in remote areas prior to yesterday, which may have been used as tests by those responsible for these acts; someone who appeared to be carrying an unusually heavy, dark-colored bag around the time of the blasts and in the vicinity of the blasts."
Investigators are scrutinizing hundreds of video and photos for clues to the identity of the person or person responsible. And police and the FBI are asking you to you to send in your Instagram photos, Flip video or any other pictures you might have taken that day near the finish line. Surveillance cameras in the area might also be useful:
"We have had a tremendous outpouring of support from the public in terms of video that has been submitted to us," DesLauriers said. "It has been tremendous, and we are analyzing that right now, taking a look at it. We are brining specialists up from Quantico to assist us who are digital video analysis experts. And we are bringing the best possible resources the FBI can bring to bear on video like this. We encourage the public and particularly business owners in that area to continue to submit this information. This is very, very important and we thank the citizens of Boston and the commonwealth of Massachusetts."
And what are police looking for in the photos?
"It's our intention to go though every frame, of every video that we have, to determine exactly who was in the area. This is probably one of the most well photographed in the country yesterday."
And the persons being sought are considered to be dangerous; Police believe that the bombs at the Boston Marathon were shrapnel-studded pressure cookers, hidden in backpacks and set off by timers, and loaded with nails or ball bearings. In other words, if the bombs did not kill, they were at least meant to inflict severe harm.
“Those items have been recovered, and are being sent to the FBI's laboratory in Quantico, Va.," DesLauriers said. There, specialized examiners will reconstruct the device, or devices, and determine its makeup and components. Among items partially recovered are pieces of black nylon, which could be from a backpack, and what appear to be fragments of BBs and nails, possibly contained in a pressure-cooker device. In addition, it was determined the devices were placed in a dark colored bag or backpack. The bag would've been heavy, because of the components that were believed to be in it. At this point, it is difficult to determine specific components used, until we can eliminate other factors that may have been present in the environment. In fact, we won't know with some certainty until the laboratory completes its final review."
What is not known is whether the individual or persons responsible for this crime is foreign or home grown, part of an organized group, or a lone wolf. And until this and other questions are answered and the suspect apprehended, investigators say they will remain vigilant.
"We are bringing our explosive specialist here to the scene," said Gene Marquez, special field agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "We have explosives enforcement officers, we have special agent bomb techs, we have canines that are trained to detect any explosive devices or any residue. At this time, we have approximately 30 forensic specialists in, around, or on the scene. And to dispel any rumors there were rumors floating around that there were up to seven devices at one point. That is not true."
The press conferences thus far have been was a mixture of cheerleading, progress reports and an appeal to the public for help. And amidst the uncertainty and beefed up security, Mayor Tom Menino and Sen. Elisabeth Warren, played the role of civic boosters, much as Rudolph Giuliani is credited with playing in New York in the aftermath of 9/11:
"Just earlier today, Sen. Warren and I visited some of the victims in the hospital," Menino said. "Your heart goes out to them during this very difficult time for them."
And a runner from New York, who was a mile from the finish line when the bombs went off, says she will return next year to finish this race.
"I think next year's Boston Marathon will probably be the safest place to be," said Lisa Meredith. "And I would love to come back and actually cross that finish."