By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - The body of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been entombed and is no longer in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, where it had been held at a funeral home, the Worcester Police Department said on Thursday.
The police did not disclose where the body had been moved.
"A courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance to properly bury the deceased," said Worcester Police Sergeant Kerry Hazelhurst.
The 26-year-old ethnic Chechen died in an April 19 gun battle with police, four days after he and his younger brother Dzhokhar are suspected of having set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured 264.
The question of where to bury the elder Tsarnaev had proven to be a thorny one, with city officials in Boston and in neighboring Cambridge, where he lived, refusing to accept the body for burial.
His widow, Katherine Russell, had asked that Tsarnaev's body be released to his family. An uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Maryland, said on Sunday he had wanted his nephew to be buried in Massachusetts.
Russell's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tsarni could not be reached.
A crowd had picketed outside the Worcester Graham Putnam & Mahoney funeral home where the body had been held since it was claimed from the medical examiner last week.
Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, who faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted on charges related to the April 15 bombings, is being held at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. He was moved there on April 26 after nearly a week in a Boston hospital where he received treatment for wounds sustained in the gun battle that left his brother dead.
Tamerlan died of gunshot wounds as well as blunt trauma to the head and torso, which resulted from both an exchange of fire with police in Watertown, outside Boston, as well as injuries that resulted when his brother drove over him as he fled.
Separately on Thursday, the family of the youngest victim to die in the attack - 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was standing by the finish line when the bombs went off - said that their 7-year-old daughter Jane was showing improvement, with surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital closing the wound left when the blast tore off her left leg below the knee.
"By closing the wound, the incredible medical team at Boston Children's Hospital laid the groundwork for Jane to take an important step forward on the long and difficult road ahead of her," the family said in a statement. "We take today's development as positive news."
(Additional reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, editing by G Crosse)