– Investigators have found images of a suspect who may have planted the bombs that killed three people and maimed scores more at the Boston Marathon.
No arrest has been made and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. But images from a surveillance camera and still pictures could mark a breakthrough before the visit later on Thursday to the city by President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, in what was termed a “healing” mission.
Two days after two bombs tore through crowds on the marathon finish line, wounding 180 people, Boston remained on edge.
The courthouse and part of a hospital used for the victims were briefly evacuated, while conflicting reports of an arrest brought a rebuke from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
But a law enforcement official said on Wednesday: “There is an image of a person, of a potential suspect.”
Investigators are working “to locate and identify that individual”.
The “Boston Globe” said the images on a surveillance video taken by a nearby department store may have captured the suspect planting one of the bombs. Separate media reports indicated there were pictures of the suspect running away while other people slumped to the ground during the blast.
While the FBI said it had launched a worldwide hunt, individuals are taking to the internet in efforts to identify potential culprits.
A group called 4chan Think-Tank posted a 57-picture album on the website featuring images of people who had black backpacks after it was revealed investigators had a video of a possible suspect.
The FBI and Homeland Security Department have circulated a picture of a damaged black backpack that investigators believe may have held one of the bombs.
The website has had more than 1.5 million views while on, a subgroup called “findbostonbombers” had more than 100 message threads.
Another reddit page urged caution as individuals took to the website while state, local and federal officials tracked down leads.
“We do not condone vigilante justice. Our aim is simply to provide tips for the FBI, not to take matters into our own hands,” a user known as Rather-Confused said in a posting.
“While it’s admirable to help, posting information on anyone noted in pictures could have a devastating effect on their life.”
One example cited but he website is Richard Jewell, the security guard who was falsely linked to the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Massachussetts Governor Deval Patrick appealed for patience over the pace of the investigation.
Mr Obama and his wife were to attend an inner-faith service for the victims at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Thursday.
About 100 of the injured up have left hospital, but about 10 remain in critical condition and will require more operations – Tim Witcher


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