Friday, September 27, 2013

Boston Bombing: the Story of Father and Son

Update 6/30/2015: Photos added at 0:39, 0:45 and 1:12. See here.
Update 4/27/2015: Three photos at 3:20-4:20 removed because of lack of authenticity. See here.
Update 4/27/2015: Photo at 4:42 changed to 4:41 after preciser comparison with Fred Land video
Update 4/20/2015: Photo at 4:23 changed to 4:21 after preciser comparison with Fred Land video
Update 3/22/2015: Photo at 0:37 changed to 0:35 after comparison with exhibit photos from the trial
Update 9/1/2014: Photos at 2:20 changed to 2:26; second photo substituted by a more wide-angle shot.
Update 5/14/2014: Photo added at 4:42.
Update 4/6/2014: Photo at 0:09 changed to 0:07 after comparison with Fred Land video.
Update 3/29/2014: Photo added at 0:09.
Update 3/29/2014: Photo at 0:12 changed to 0:13 after thorough examination.
Update 10/15/2013: Two photos added at 4:30 and 4:35, with Father and Son being outside of the captured area.
Update 10/6/2013: Photo at 0:23 changed to 0:19; Photo at 0:40 changed to 0:37; Photo at 0:45 changed to 0:42; better determination possible because photographer was identified on Fred Land Video. 
Update 10/4/2013: New photo added at 4:23 after blast.

This photo shows a man and a boy, apparently father and son, near the Forum crime scene a few seconds or minutes after the explosion of the second bomb.

The couple is easily identifiable on many photos of the immediate aftermath of the second blast. It also shows up on a video with firefighter and first aider Matt Patterson. The father wears a black jacket, a blue jeans slit by shrapnel, sneakers with a salient color, and he's carrying a backpack. The son wears a grey hoodie and dark-colored tracksuit pants with white stripes, and sometimes a yellow shirt shows through under the hoodie. The father's legs are slightly bleeding, but he doesn't seem to be seriously injured.

The man and the boy are premium witnesses for clarifying the pending questions regarding the second bomb. There is much speculation about their identity, but I will avoid this aspect for now and discuss it after the timeline. For convenience I refer to them simply as Father and Son, with the caveat that this term might possibly not reflect their actual relation.

By matching the photos with the available videos, most notably the Fred Land video, it is in most cases possible to determine the time of their creation to the second. This allows for a meticulous reconstruction of the couple's activities, resulting in a timeline which is outlined below. In addition to the pictures I've already featured on this blog,  I'll refer to an extensive photographic collection of the website Unfortunately, the website does not list the original URL of the photos, which doesn't enhance their traceability (and therefore authenticity). This is an important aspect because we do have to reckon with tampered or outright faked photos. So if possible, I will add the original URL to the photos. Fortunately, in most cases the Fred Land video serves as an unfallible tool to verify their authenticity.

There are three videos about the Forum blast which help determine the exact time of the photo shootings. It is possible to synchronize them:

-  The Fred Land video begins at 1:00 minutes prior to the blast.

-  The David Green video with Matt Patterson is unfortunately available in redacted form only. However, by matching it with the Fred Land video it can be determined that it begins 1:08 after the blast (2:08 in the Fred Land video) and ends 1:38 after the blast.

-  The Daniel Robert video begins at 2:39 minutes after the blast (3:39 in the Fred Land video). At 0:56, you hear a fire truck honking; the same honk can be heard at 4:35 in the Fred Land video, thus enabling a synchronization of the two videos.

To make the moves of the couple comprehensible, I've added a diagram to some of the photos. Father, Son and the child they care for are represented by a big red F, S, and C. Matt Patterson and Mike Chase, the first aiders whom they met, are represented by a black MP resp. MC. The barriers are numerated, and it is sketched if they are toppled; the trees are represented by green circles, the poles by black circles. Before the blast, the scene looks like this:

Timeline of Father and Son 

The times indicate minutes:seconds after the second blast; adding 1 minute yields the time of the Fred Land video. If not stated otherwise, the times are exact up to 1 second.

0:07  Father is in the middle of Boylston Street, covering his ears (see here). 

0:13  Father is about to erect barrier 4 which was hit by a crowd and toppled onto some people. Son is 3 meters left of him, the crowd in between.

0:19  Father has erected barrier 4. Son is still 3 meters left of him.

0:30  Father and Son are together, embracing each other.

0:35  Father has a little child on his arm (in front of the tree, difficult to recognize).


0:42  Father carries the heavily maimed child away from the Forum onto the street. Son is with him.ée.jpg


0:58  Father is seen cowering or sitting on the street (in the background between the woman with the red trousers and the man left of hers).

1:02   Matt Patterson (red shirt) and three other men have arrived at the place where Father and Son have laid down the child onto the street, vis a vis the Atlantic Fish restaurant (leftmost).

1:12  Matt Patterson has achieved a belt and begins to apply a tourniquet.

1:20  While the three other men quickly leave again, probably for organizing help, Matt Patterson gets a belt from someone on the sidewalk (at this moment barriers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 topple over) and makes a tourniquet for the child.  On the right side, Father is sitting on the ground. Son is covered by him.
Source: David Green video

1:38  The tourniquet is ready.  Mike Patterson, Father and Son stand up. Mike Chase (blue shirt) has joined the group.
Source: David Green video

1:43 (+- 3 sec) Matt Patterson and Mike Chase carry the child away. Father and Son are visible rightmost in the photo,  turning their attention back to the Forum scene.
1:58  Mike Chase (blue shirt, black pants) is still on Boylston street, in the left half of the photo.  Father and Son are covered by the firefighter in the foreground.
2:00  Father and Son are standing together on Boylston Street, beside Mike Chase - now he's the one who is covered, but his bare legs are visible.
2:07  Father and Son are standing beside Matt Patterson, just right of the fire truck ("Ladder 17", who just arrives, turning into Boylston Street from Fairfield Street). It's obvious from the last three pictures that Patterson and Chase have handed off the child to other people.
2:26  Father and Son are leaning over barrier 4 and watch how first aiders treat injured people on the sidewalk in front of the Forum. The two photos seem to have been shot at the very same second. In the first photo leftmost the back of Father is visible. Both photos show the policeman carrying the little child away. blast 17.jpg
 2:30   Father and Son still at barrier 4, but no longer lean over it.
2:35  From the same photographer, about 5 seconds later. Father and Son are gone and nowhere to be seen. Apparently they have exited the photographer's field of view on the left side.

4:21  Father and Son in the middle of Boylston Street with a law enforcement officer, in front of the fire truck.

4:30 (+- 2 sec)  Father and Son are not visible; they are in the area left of the photo, most probably in the middle of Boylston Street.
4:35  (+- 3 sec) From the same photographer (Jackie Bruno?), seconds later; Father and Son are left of the area covered by the photo.

4:41  Firetruck "Ladder 15" just crosses the street from its first position to its final place just opposite the Forum. Father and Son are recognizable, arm in arm as always, just left of the firetruck and the man in the red jacket at the barrier.

5:06 - 5:16  The Fred Land video shows Father and Son hurrying away from the scene. The picture is a snapshot taken at 6:08 in the video.


So much for the timeline of Father and Son. Now the question for their identity arises. Namely British newspapers fueled the speculation that they are Bill and Henry Richard, father and older brother of deceased Martin Richard. A Telegraph article from April 18th compares one of the last photos of Father and Son with the Richard family and equates their identities. The article is offline meanwhile, but I was able to catch a webpage referencing to it, including the headline and the photos.

Despite the striking similarity between Father and Bill Richard there are overwhelming arguments that they are not the same person, likewise Son and Henry Richard.

Here are two other photos of the Richard Family:
Both of the pictures show that Bill Richard is a tall man, distinctly bigger than Father. Just to the contrary, Henry looks smaller and younger than Son. Especially the difference of the body sizes of Father and Son on the one side and Bill and Henry Richard on the other side makes clear that they are different persons.

Additionally, while the faces of Father and Bill Richard look similar, Father's hair is completely different - it's curly and has a brighter color:

This photo shows Bill Richard on 9/11/2013, holding a memorial address for the victims of 9/11:

Apart from the photos and videos, the behavior of Father and Son as sketched in the timeline is additional evidence that they are not identical to Bill and Henry Richard. Assumed they are identical: why are they not looking for Martin? Why are they not looking for mother Denise? Why do they leave the crime scene after five minutes without knowing what happened to them? This doesn't make sense.

It has also been suggested that the maimed little child was Jane Richard - despite early statements from Matt Patterson and Mike Chase that it was a boy. So assumed the child was Jane and Father and Son were Bill and Henry Richard - is it imaginable that they didn't attend her when she was being carried to the hospital? Certainly no. The only possible reason might be that they wanted to search for Martin and Denise - but, as already mentioned, they didn't do that.

I've argued here that the Richard family has not been at the Forum, and that Martin was not killed by the Forum bomb. The story of Father and Son definitely confirms that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Boston Bombing Analysis: The Fred Land Video

Correction:  my original statement below that the second photo is faked is wrong. I identified the corresponding video snapshot at 1:20. The man wearing a black shirt and light-colored trousers who just jumped over the toppled barrier is visible in the photo. Because of the perspective of the photo, it's impossible to see the toppled barriers on it. The man with the white cap is obviously covered by other people.

Fred Land has recorded a private video from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel which is situated diagonally opposite the Forum. The video shows a segment of Boylstron Street near the Forum from 1 minute prior to the second explosion until 7 minutes after.

This video has enjoyed virtually zero attention until now. This will certainly change because of its outstanding authenticity - a salute for Mr. Land on this occasion. It will not only help to establish a timeline for the aftermath of the second bomb, but also has the power to sort out fake photos which have continously contaminated the independent Boston Bombing investigations.

To illustrate the latter, I start with an example, with two photos I've already featured.

The two photos show Boylston Street seconds after the second blast from a similar perspective (Boylston Str./Fairfield Str. corner). On one photo, there is a mixed group with adults and children on the street, but it is not visible on the other - something that has kept bugging me. The Land Video delivers the solution.

In this photo there are two barriers toppled down onto the street, a policeman nearby, a man pushing a baby buggy on the sidewalk (far left in the picture), a  man completely in black crossing the street (walking away from the viewer) and some guys far right in the picture. All of them appear also at 1:30 in the video, 30 seconds after the blast - even the baby buggy. The photo is genuine. Here's the corresponding snapshot from the video:

In the next photo you see some children in the middle of Boylston Street, hurrying away from the Forum.

The children must inevitably have crossed the area that is captured by the video. But an attempt to spot them in the video fails. They never show up, neither seconds after the blast nor later. None of the barriers has toppled over yet which means that the photo must have been shot within 10 seconds after the blast - because the video shows the barriers going down at this time (1:10 in the video). But in the first seconds after the blast, the runners stop running and turn around, the street empties, and there's not one single child on Boylston Street, let alone a group of them.

The second photo is fake. This scene never happened. A delicate by-product is that this photo was accepted by the FBI, widely spread and supposed to demonstrate that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had just left the crime scene (he is visible at the far left). The photo is worthless.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Martin Richard

Update 10/5/2013: "A spokesman for the family said he was unable to confirm the identities of those in the marathon image or provide an update for Jane's condition given she is under a privacy order." Daily Mail, 4/23/2013

Update 9/21/2013: The  Fred Land video  eradicates the last doubts that the photo is fabricated. The blue runner must have passed the area covered by the video seconds before the second blast. But he is not there. The photo is a fake.

The violent death of Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi and Krystle Campbell has shocked the world, and the world will be reminded of it again in the coming trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The indictment accuses him of murdering Martin Richard and Lu Lingzi because they were allegedly killed by the Forum bomb:

Apart from the evidence that Tsarnaev's bag was not the second bomb however, presented in my previous blog entries, there are also serious doubts that the two deceased were victims of the Forum bomb at all. The evidence is murky, as I will show now for the case of Martin Richard.

Early reports locate Martin at the first bomb site:

Martin was killed in the first explosion as he waited to give his father a hug at the finishing line. His sister and mother were also injured.

Before the explosions, Martin gave his dad Bill Richard a hug at the finish line. Sadly, when Martin ran back to his mother, the first bomb exploded and killed him. Reports claims that his Martin’s mother was seriously injured — she underwent surgery for an injury on her brain on April 15, and Jane lost her leg.

And here's an unambigous statement of firefighter Ed Kelly, interviewed by the Boston Globe's Kevin Cullen:

Their gruff lecture on fire safety and common sense was cut short when the first bomb exploded around the corner. “I know what a bomb sounds like,” he said. “We tore around the corner thinking we were going to find a fire. But there was no fire.”

Instead there were dozens of people spilled on the sidewalk. The firefighters worried about secondary bombs and biological weapons. But they dove into their work. “The first person I encountered was a woman. The bone was sticking out of her leg. Four inches in width, 10 inches in length. The femoral blood was a dark, dark red.”

A 12-year department veteran from Dorchester was right next to him, working through the victims in front of Marathon Sports. He saw a guy he knew from the neighborhood, Bill Richard. “I can’t find Denise,” Richard cried, referring to his wife.

The Richard family had been caught in the blast as they watched runners pass the finish line. Bill Richard and his son Henry avoided serious injury. But Denise Richard was hit in the head with shrapnel, and her 6-year-old daughter Janey lost part of her leg. Eight-year-old Martin Richard caught the full force of the explosion, and when the firefighter looked down at him, “I knew Marty was gone.”

Marty Richard was a third-grade classmate of the firefighter’s daughter. In fact, almost everyone on Engine 7 knew the Richards; the lieutenant’s kid was a classmate of one of the Richard kids.

All of this indicates that the Richard family was at the first bomb site. However, here's a different story:

Representative Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts spoke on the story on Tuesday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, which differs from the accounts that state that Martin's father was running during the marathon: "The dad is a runner, but he wasn't running yesterday. They were there to support some of their friends who were running. The kids were all up on the barrier. They were all focused forward and the blast came from the back and the side."

While the last quote makes no mention of the whereabouts of the Richard family, the next one (quoting the same witness) explicitly states that the family was hurt by the second bomb:

Lynch said the family was attempting to get over the race barriers and into the street when the second blast occurred, killing Martin. Bill Richard and Henry Richard were not seriously injured, but doctors did remove ball bearings from Bill Richard's leg, Lynch said.

There are some problems with this story, however. According to the complaint against Tsarnaev, there were no people climbing over the barriers at the second bomb site after the first explosion. All of them looked in the direction to the first blast - with the exception of Tsarnaev:  

Virtually every head turns east (towards the finish line) and stares in that direction, in apparent bewilderedness and alarm. Bomber Two, virtually alone among the individuals in front of the restaurant, remains calm.

The most striking "proof" for many that Martin was a victim of the Forum bomb is certainly this photo:

Tsarnaev's head is visible in the background and there is something like a bag at the metal barrier. This photo, whose origin is murky, appeared in several British newspapers at first and was quickly acclaimed as proof that Tsarnaev had just left his bomb bag and was about to flee the scene.

However, it is easy to see that the photo is a fake. Again a quote from the initial complaint:

He walks away without his knapsack, having left it on the ground where he was standing. Approximately 10 seconds later, an explosion occurs in the location where Bomber 2 had placed his knapsack.

Assumed the photo is genuine, it has to have been shot after the first explosion because Tsarnaev didn't walk off prior to it. However, not one single person turns his head toward the finish line. All of them are in good mood and cheering the runners. This is not only utterly implausible, it is also contradicted by the complaint which clearly states that "virtually every head stared to the finish line in apparent bewilderedness and alarm."

Additionally, the photos shot in the seconds after the blast don't verify that Martin had been standing on a metal barrier: the very same barrier was blown across the street, but Martin and Jane, his sister, are nowhere to see, neither at the barrier, nor somewhere on the street. Not one of the girls/women standing at the barrier is detectable in the post-explosion photos. And vice versa, noone of the injured people in the post-explosion photos is detectable in the alleged pre-explosion photo.

The photo with Martin Richard and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not genuine. It is a fake, fabricated and dispersed in the obvious intention to paint Tsarnaev as Martin's murderer and create dull and ill-advised emotions. It fits into the already known pattern to make Dzhokhar Tsarnaev responsible for a crime he obviously didn't commit.