Suspect In Custody In Boston Bomb Scare Struggled With Mental Illness, Source Says

UPDATE: Kevin Edson, 25, of Wakefield, Mass., allegedly left one unattended backpack near the finish line. The scare occurred on the one-year anniversary of the bombings.

Boston Police said Tuesday night that a male suspect was in custody after officers investigated two “unattended backpacks” found near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street.

Boston Police Spokesman David Estrada told the Boston Globe that while the backpacks were being taken seriously, there “does not appear to be any evidence the backpacks are dangerous,” according to the paper.

A bomb squad used two controlled detonations to destroy the backpacks.

The street was closed and nearby transit — the MBTA Green Line — temporarily suspended. In the same area earlier on Tuesday, hundreds gathered to mark the one-year anniversary of the bombings that killed three and injured more than 206.

As reports of the backpack emerged around 7 p.m., there were also reports that a man wearing a black veil yelling “Boston Strong” was stomping barefoot down Boylston Street. Police have not confirmed his involvement, though some reporters on the scene said he had been detained.

5. Video of the suspicious person:

7. Video of the bomb squad inspecting a backpack:

View this embed ›

8. Update — April 16, 12:09 a.m. ET: The suspect in custody has been identified as Kevin Edson, 25, of Wakefield, Mass., according to CBS Boston.

Suspect in Boston

— WMRC (@WMRC1490)

9. Edson posted on various social media channels frequently under the handle “Nat Sel” or “Natural Selection.”

10. Edson struggled publicly with mental illness, according to a close friend and former classmate who spoke with BuzzFeed, but asked not to be identified.

11. On Tuesday, Edson was posting Boston Bomber memes on his website,


12. And 13 hours before the incident, he shared this picture on what appears to be his Facebook wall.

13. The police have not issued a motive for why Edson left the bag containing a rice cooker full of confetti in Copley Square, but according to those close with him, he was known to participate in performance art.

14. Update — April 16, 10:54 a.m. ET: Edson has been arrested and charged by local law enforcement.

Edson was arrested and charged with Threatening Battery, Possession of a Hoax Explosive Device, Threats to Commit a Crime, Disturbing a the Peace, Disturbing a Public Assembly, and Disorderly Conduct.

Also, according to Boston Police, only one backpack belonged to Edson. The second backpack found unattended in the same area that was detonated Tuesday night belonged to a local media outlet.

15. The Edson family has apologized for the incident and confirmed Kevin’s “multiple mental health issues.”

Our family is so sorry and emotionally overwhelmed by the events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday. To have this happen on the one year anniversary of such a horrific crime is unfathomable. My daughter and I have run the Boston Marathon six times for charitable organizations. It’s a glorious event that embraces the spirit of friendly competition and good will. Crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon is a feeling of accomplishment that can not be described.

Our son Kevin has been battling mental issues for several years. His illness has caused himself and our family years of anguish that is unimaginable. His multiple mental health issues, including the diagnosis of BiPolar Disorder, are a constant battle realized by multiple hospitalizations and close psychiatric treatment. Kevin is currently a college student and has not been living at home for several months. Unfortunately his mental health has deteriorated recently.

Read the family’s full statement here.

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at
Ryan Broderick is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ryan Broderick at
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