MAKHACHKALA, Russia - The father of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers said he was struggling to believe his sons were behind the twin blasts that killed three and injured more than 170.
“I’m planning to find the truth, justice,” said Anzor Tsarnaev during an interview at his home in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan. "I want facts, proof that this is all original because otherwise, anything could be set up."
Tsarnaev’s son Tamerlan, 26, died following a gunbattle with police four days after the bombings. His brother Dzhokhar, 19, was captured on Friday and has been charged with using weapons of mass destruction.
The mother of the Boston bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, tells the that prior to the attacks the FBI had been watching her oldest son when they were in the United States.
The case in the United States was clearly taking a toll on Tsarnaev’s wife Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who told NBC News' U.K. partner ITN News that she "wanted to die."
The FBI had been watching her oldest son when they were in the United States, she told Channel 4.
"They were monitoring him and I know that because I used to talk to them," she said. "They used to come to our house, like two, three times. And then my son Tamerlan used to tell me that he used to talk to them too, because they called me once and they wanted his number.
"At such moments I used to get really worried because, you know, my kids and I’m their mother,” Tsarnaeva told Channel 4 News, which is also NBC News' partner.
An agent told her that they "saw whatever (Tamerlan) was reading," and asked if she thought he would get involved with a radical organization, Tsarnaeva said. "I said no, no," she added.
When NBC News spoke to Tsarnaeva, who says she began to practice a "pure" form of Islam around four years ago in the United States, she became visibly angry at the suggestion that Tamerlan may have visited a Salafist mosque. Salafist Sunnis believe in a very strict interpretation of the Koran.
When asked why her sons were at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Tsarnaeva told Channel 4 that they were athletes and liked watching the marathon.
"Last year they went too, and I went last year," she said.
“What happened was a terrible thing," she said. "But I know that my kids have nothing to do with this. I know it. I am mother. I know my kids."
In an emotional interview with NBC News, the father of the two brothers suspected of setting off two bombs at the Boston Marathon insisted his son Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was an innocent child and brother Tamerlan a gifted boxer who was "very religious" and homesick. NBC's Adrienne Mong reports.
For his part, the suspects' father described his sons as “wonderful children.”
“They are gentle, like girls, they as soft in their character – soft,” Tsarnaev said.
He called Dzhokhar “an innocent angel.”
The couple say they moved Dagestan over a year ago after Tsarnaev became sick.
The surviving suspect is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chechen origin. He made his initial court appearance on Monday at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition.
Dzhokhar was assigned three federal public defenders. The charges could carry the death penalty.
This story was originally published on Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:34 AM EDT