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How Boston bombing suspect's friends hid backpack, laptop

When three college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev realized he was involved in the Boston marathon bombing, instead of contacting authorities, they proceeded to conceal the evidence, according to an FBI affidavit.  

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The Kazhaks and Phillipos, who'd attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School with "Jahar," as Dzhokhar was known, agreed to meet at Pine Dale Hall, their friend's dorm. Phillipos, the 19-year-old son of a single mother, said he wanted to see for himself whether the TV reports were true.

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Tsarnaev's roommate let them in, saying they'd missed him by a couple of hours.

According to Kadyrbayev, the trio decided to watch a movie (he didn't specify which one). At some point, they noticed a backpack.

Inside, they discovered more than a half-dozen fireworks, each about 8 inches long, according to the affidavit. The black powder had been scooped out.

Kadyrbayev said he knew instantly that his friend was indeed involved in the bombings. But instead of calling authorities, he told investigators he began thinking of ways to get rid of the evidence.

Just in case the roommate thought he was "stealing or behaving suspiciously" by grabbing the backpack alone, Kadyrbayev decided to take Tsarnaev's laptop as well.

The three returned to the Kazhaks' apartment and watched news reports of the intensifying manhunt. They discussed what to do with Tsarnaev's things.

As the situation's gravity began to sink in, Phillipos — whose own text to Tsarnaev went unanswered — said everyone "started to freak out," according to authorities. The other two men began speaking to each other in Russian.

Around 11 p.m., according to Phillipos, Kadrybayev broached the topic of ditching the stuff. Phillipos says he replied, "Do what you have to do," then managed to drift off to sleep.

When he awoke from his two-hour nap, the backpack and computer were gone.

By then, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dead, cut down in a hail of police gunfire, then run over by his fleeing brother. Later that night, the three friends' college buddy, bleeding from several gunshot wounds, surrendered from his hiding place under a tarp covering a boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown.

On April 26, authorities found the backpack in a New Bedford landfill. According to the affidavit, it contained the emptied fireworks, a jar of Vaseline and a UMass-Dartmouth homework assignment sheet from a class in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently enrolled.

Allen G. Breed is based in Raleigh, N.C. He can be reached at features(at)ap.org. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/(hash)!/AllenGBreed

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