5 things to know about the unsolved 2011 Waltham triple murder

Waltham triple murder
The 2011 Waltham triple murder case remains unsolved to date (Image via MSNBC)

An upcoming Hulu documentary series titled The Murders Before the Marathon will explore the Waltham triple murder case that took place in 2011 and remains unsolved to date in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred about two years later in 2013.

The official synopsis of the documentary states:

"If police had solved a gruesome triple homicide in Waltham, Massachusetts, would they have prevented the Boston Marathon bombing? Journalist Suzan Zalkind unpacks the murder that took her friend’s life, the national tragedy that shook her city, and the haunting connection between the two events.''
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Investigative journalist Susan Zalkind will feature in Hulu's upcoming documentary, delving deep into the shocking triple murders of Erik Weissman, Brendan Mess, and Rafi Teken--the horrifying slayings that still trouble the people of Waltham. According to Zalkind, the Tsarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the Boston bombings, were behind the murders that occurred on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

The documentary will also pose questions such as why authorities never formally charged anyone for the murder and could the Boston bombings have been prevented altogether had they caught the culprit back then?

Here are five facts to know about the unsolved 2011 Waltham triple murder ahead of the documentary premiere.

Trigger warning: This article contains information about graphic violence.


Five key facts about the unsolved Waltham triple murder case

1) Links between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Brendan Mess surfaced

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Middlesex County started looking into the connection between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Brendan Mess, one of the three men slain in the Waltham triple murder case on September 11, 2011, after the Boston Marathon bombings.

According to authorities, Mess and two other men were discovered in a Waltham home with their throats sliced open and their bodies completely coated with marijuana. Mess and Tamerlan used to share a room and trained in martial arts and boxing together.

Jiu-jitsu instructor Scott Wood, who became friends with Mess and taught him at a Vermont martial arts center, claimed that he believes the murderer(s) entered Mess' house "under the guise of being a friend."


2) Tsarnaev brothers traced back to the area of the murders

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According to law enforcement sources, circumstantial evidence from the crime scene connected the two Tsarnaev brothers to it. Mobile phone records prove that the Tsarnaev brothers were likely in the same neighborhood as the killings on that particular date.


3) A Waltham investigator described the crime scene as "the worst bloodbath"

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The bodies of the Waltham triple murder victims were discovered the day after the killings on September 12, 2011. At the time, district attorney Gerry Leone stated that the killings were "graphic." Other investigators described it as disconcerting, while one called the crime scene "the worst bloodbath" he had ever witnessed.

Around seven pounds of marijuana and $5,000 in cash were placed on top of the bodies with their throats slit open. The windows of the house were reportedly open, but neighbors reported hearing no indications of danger. Additionally, there were no signs of forced entry.


4) Ibragim Todashev, an alleged accomplice in the Waltham triple murders, confessed

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In May 2013, during an interview, an FBI agent reportedly shot Ibragim Todashev multiple times at his residence while accompanied by two Massachusetts state troopers. The FBI agent is a former Oakland police officer with a questionable background. Todashev, a mixed martial artist, reportedly admitted to his involvement and connected Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the Waltham triple murder case.

Authorities are still investigating the idea that Todashev and Tsarnaev were complicit in the killings.


5) A 1999 Honda CR-V and other circumstantial evidence

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According to reports, there is "mounting evidence," supported by "forensic hits," that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar may have been involved in the horrific, unsolved Waltham triple murder in 2011.

They are also searching for a 1999 Honda CR-V that Todashev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly used to travel to and fro during the Waltham murders. They are looking for "blood, DNA, trace evidence, and other items" that may link the two men to the Waltham murder.


The Murders Before the Marathon airs on Hulu this Monday, September 5, 2022.

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Edited by Susrita Das