Now that the story's slowed down a bit, it was exciting to see a big new development hit the web on late Monday. Citing anonymous sources, The Wall Street Journal reports that female DNA was found on debris from the Boston Marathon bomb. "Female DNA?!" you might be thinking. "But both of the bombers are men! Does this mean there's another suspect out there?!?!"
No, it does not — not necessarily. The thing with DNA is that it's everywhere. It's on handrails. It's on backpacks. It's on toilet seats. You're probably breathing in some DNA, right now, actually. As such, The Journal's source warned that the sample could've come from anywhere "from a store clerk who handled materials used in the bombs or a stray hair that ended up in the bomb." It should be made very clear at this time that federal authorities have no reason to believe that suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is dead, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who remains in custody, had any help in carrying out the attack.
Nevertheless, the Feds are looking into this new clue and have already taken a DNA sample from Tamerlan's widow to see if she might be a match. Again, DNA is everywhere, and if the brothers built the bombs in Tamerlan's apartment, there's a good chance that his widow's DNA might've gotten mixed up in the mess. And there is a very slim chance that a third person — someone besides a store clerk or an innocent bystander — came into contact with the bomb. But there's an even stronger chance that this latest development is just another routine stage of the investigation, one that conspiracy theorists and skeptics will surely latch on to as evidence that there's more to the story than the government is telling us. Of course, it doesn't take much to stir up that bunch.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.