Washington: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers involved in the Boston bombing Marathon, left the country recently and returned a radically different man, according to a friend.
The friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said Tsarnaev, 26, had disappeared for a while and when he returned, he was noticeably more religious.
According to the New York Daily News, he also appeared to be influencing his younger brother, Dzhokhar, in that direction, too.
WNBC-TV reported on Friday that Tamerlan was out of the country for about six months last year. He left for Russia via Kennedy Airport in January 2012 and returned in July.
Family and friends have also said that they saw a dramatic rise in Tamerlan`s religious fervor dating to 2009 - and that he only got more radical as time passed.
The Russian government even warned the FBI about Tamerlan in 2011 "based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer."
Some who knew Dzhokhar saw signs the older brother`s radicalization was affecting his younger sibling.
The 19-year-old college student had always been focused on schoolwork and his grades - although he did like to party - said a friend who has known him for several years.