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Boston Globe reporter explains how he broke Doswell story

Posted at 4:54 PM, May 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-10 22:02:00-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The Boston Globe reporter who broke the story about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s burial in Doswell, Virginia said he tries to respond to all the email he receives. It was a person who emailed him that helped break the news.

“She said ‘I want you to be the first to know,'” recalled Wesley Lowery in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

He was referring to a woman who had emailed him earlier about his coverage on the controversy surrounding where the Boston bombing suspect’s remains would be buried. A woman, it turned out, who was instrumental in getting the remains to Central Virginia.

Friday morning Lowery said a source tipped him off to check in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. Then he said he received a call from Martha Mullen.

“She said ‘I want you to be the first to know that I helped out with this [the burial in Virginia].’ So here I was searching for a second source on this Virginia angle and the ultimate source gave me a call,” Lowery said in a phone interview.

Lowery reported Mullen, 48, decided to take action and help move the body to Virginia after listening to NPR reports about the protestors outside the Massachusetts funeral home.

“This is the worst of America,” Lowery recalled her saying.

Lowery said Mullen wanted to be the person who helped, so she did online research on how to bring the body to Virginia. After a few emails and phone calls, the plan was in place to bring the body from Worcester, Mass. to Doswell.

During an afternoon press conference, Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa said his department would have to provide security for the grave site and called the situation a public safety concern.

Lowery said he had no concerns about publishing the story that included the location of the grave site because it was all public record.

“You always stop and you think, do I need to push the button on this, is this something that’s vital,” Lowery said. “In this case, this information is part of the public record. It was going to come out publicly. When the death certificate came out later in the day it listed the site of burial.

“There was certainly a public interest in finding out where was Tamerlan Tsarnaev final resting place going to be. With that said of course there are security issues that the officials down in Virginia are going to have to deal with. But our reporting of where it went played no role in their need for security because this was information that was going to enter the public discourse no matter what.”