Family of boy killed in Marathon blast issues update; ‘guarded optimism’ seen over 7-year-old sister

The family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, a Dorchester boy killed in the Marathon bombing attack, this morning issued a detailed update of the family’s difficult recovery from the devastating physical and emotional injuries caused by the explosions.

Martin’s sister, Jane, 7, on Wednesday underwent her 11th surgery. “While she has more trips to the O.R. ahead of her, last night’s operation marked an important milestone, as doctors were finally able to close the wound created when the bomb took her left leg below the knee,” the family said. “Part of the procedure involved preparing Jane’s injured leg to eventually be fitted for a prosthesis.”

Jane has also had to fight infections and other complications, and had to endure the news that her brother had been killed. “After not being able to communicate with Jane for the first two weeks, she woke up with difficult questions that needed to be answered,” the family said. “There are not words to describe how hard sharing this heartbreaking news was on all of us.”

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Jane’s parents, Bill and Denise, were discharged from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center a week after the attacks. “While no sight has returned to Denise’s injured eye, her doctors have been pleased with how she is healing from her surgeries,” the family said. “Bill is healing from the shrapnel wounds and burns to his legs, and we remain hopeful there will be improvement over time from the hearing loss he suffered.”

The family thanked first responders, saying, “We particularly want to thank the people who quickly got to Jane and addressed her injury in the street because they saved her life. We also salute those who stood guard over Martin’s body so he was not alone. Those officers will never know how comforting that was in our very darkest hour.”

One of those officers, Captain Frank Armstrong, issued a statement Thursday evening. The officers had also watched over another of the bombing victims, Lu Lingzhi.

“While awaiting the arrival of investigators to process the scene, there were several officers who stood watch over Lingzhi and Martin throughout the night to ensure they were never left alone out of respect for both them and their grieving families,” Armstrong’s statement said. “If these actions brought any measure of solace to the Lu and Richard families, we were honored by their sacrifice to have done so.”

The family also thanked the community for its support. “Well-wishes reach us, and they help more than anyone can know,” the family said. “Many of you feel an incredible need to do more, which is understandable and gracious. We will need help, as we cannot get through this tragedy on our own. We know how difficult it is to stand idle when something terrible happens, so we thank you for respecting our privacy and giving us space to not only recuperate and rest, but also to ensure the one thing the attack does not break is our bond as a family.

“As hard as it is for us to do so, we ask for your continued patience as we work through something for which there is no roadmap, and there are no instructions.”

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