Eight days after 8-year-old Martin Richard was killed in the Boston Marathon attack, his family still has an anxious wait for news on his little sister, Jane, who has lost a leg and remains in a critical condition, it has emerged today.
Jane Richard, 7, is believed to have been standing on the marathon fence next to the big brother she idolized when Monday’s blast took place.
Father Bill and mother Denise – who also suffered head injuries – are having to remain strong for Jane, who is fighting “multiple injuries” from the terror attack after losing a leg.
Bill and Denise Richard buried their second oldest son, Martin, in a private funeral today while Jane remains hospitalized.
“The outpouring of love and support over the last week has been tremendous. This has been the most difficult week of our lives and we appreciate that our friends and family have given us space to grieve and heal,” Bill and Denise Richard said in a statement.
“A private Funeral Mass was celebrated this morning with immediate family. We laid our son Martin to rest, and he is now at peace. We plan to have a public memorial service in the coming weeks to allow friends and loved ones from our community to join us for a celebration of Martin’s life.”
Jane Richard is an enthusiastic Irish dancer having attended classes at the Clifden Academy of Irish Dance in Milton since the age of three.
Several Irish dance groups are now raising money to support her.
“She is just a beautiful little girl. We taught her since she was a baby, pointing her little toe,” Eileen Dillon Dinn, owner of the Clifton Academy, told the Irish Voice.
“We are just in a state of shock and disbelief. The Richard family is lovely. They went to the marathon as a happy family, and then this happened. We don’t know what to say.”
Jane Richard loved to learn all the new moves at the academy, according to her teacher, and was on the sidelines at the recent Irish World Dance Championships in Boston dreaming that someday she would get the chance to compete.
“She’s a beauty, always smiling,” said Dillon Dinn.
“Jane really lives to dance.”
Jane Richard’s eldest brother Henry, 12, and father Bill managed to escape from the bomb attack uninjured.
Images from the scene appear to show Bill Richard, 42, a community organizer, holding his youngest children up on the railings as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev plants his backpack bomb just behind them.
It isn’t clear whether any of the women in the photograph is the children’s mother, school librarian Denise Richard, 43, who sustained head injuries and had to undergo brain surgery following the attack.
A spokesman for the family said he was unable to confirm the identities of those in the marathon image or provide an update for Jane Richard’s condition given she is under a privacy order.
The Children’s Hospital of Boston did not identify the 7 year-old girl they said was still in a critical condition.
However, previous reports of the injured suggest that Jane Richard is the only one of 11 or so youngsters injured in the terror attacks that fits the sparse description.
The family were watching elated runners cross the finish line on Monday.
Bill Richard is a former marathon runner himself so the young family liked to support other participants in the event, according to friends of the family.
Neighbors said Jane Richard looked up to her older brother, Martin, and they both attended the Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, where their mother served as the school librarian.
Tracey Monroe, a bystander who came to Jane Richard’s aid in the moments after the blast, told WCVB.com: “I saw her laying in the street. I held her head in my hands and I tried to rub her and comfort her. I asked what her name was and she said Jane.
“She was just a baby and so badly injured and scared. But she was so incredibly brave. I saw him [Martin Richard] and at that point I knew he was gone. I’ll never forget them – that little girl, she was so brave.”
The bombs, described by experts as makeshift anti-personnel devices, were made from pressure cookers packed with shrapnel and ball bearings to cause the maximum injuries to those caught in the blast.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose older brother and suspected accomplice Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the manhunt to track the bombers down, has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property.
The Boston Marathon bombing killed three and injured more than 200, 48 of whom were still in hospital today, three in a critical condition, according to Reuters.