Man accused of blowing up Wisconsin anti-abortion office

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — After a nearly year-long search, investigators have used DNA from a half-eaten burrito to nab a man they believe was gunned down at the office of a Wisconsin anti-abortion lobby group.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Madison announced that police arrested 29-year-old Hridindu Sankar Roychowhur on Tuesday at Boston’s Logan International Airport. He was charged with attempting to cause harm by means of arson or explosives.

He made his first appearance in federal court in Boston on Tuesday. US Magistrate Judge Donald L. Kebbell scheduled a detention hearing for Thursday. Roychowdhury’s attorney, Brendan O. Kelly, who is listed in online court records as a federal public defender, declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday after the hearing.

Federal agents have been searching for nearly a year for whoever threw a Molotov cocktail at the Wisconsin Family Action office in Madison on May 6.. One of the firebombs failed to ignite; Another set the bookcase on fire. The message “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you” was spray-painted on the building’s exterior. No one was in the office at that time.

The attack comes about a week after a draft opinion suggested the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. v. Wade, which legalized abortion, was leaked. The release sparked protests across the country by abortion rights supporters. Two Catholic churches in Colorado were vandalized days before the Madison bombing. And someone threw Molotov cocktails at the offices of an anti-abortion organization in suburban Salem, Oregon. A few days later.

The court formally overturned Roe v. Wade in June, putting Wisconsin’s 1849 ban on abortion back into effect.

According to the criminal complaint against Roychowdhury, investigators removed DNA samples from three people from evidence at the scene of the Wisconsin attack. But the samples did not match profiles in the US Department of Justice’s DNA database.

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As time passed, Wisconsin Family Action President Julen Appling offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. He accused Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Madison Police Chief Sean Barnes of being more interested in courting abortion rights activists than bringing any suspects to justice.

Last January, police assigned to guard the state capitol building in Madison reviewed surveillance video of a protest against police brutality. Footage showed several people spray-painting graffiti on the Capitol grounds. The graffiti resembled that of the Wisconsin Family Action Office.

The footage showed two people leaving the area in a white pickup truck, which investigators tracked to Roychowdhury’s residence in Madison, according to the complaint. The police began to give chase.

On March 1, he sat down in a Madison park and threw away a fast food bag. After he left, the police retrieved the bag from the trash can. DNA from the burrito in the bag matched DNA taken from the Wisconsin Family Action office, according to the complaint.

Roychowdhury traveled from Madison to Portland, Maine this month, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement. He had a one-way ticket from Boston to Guatemala City, Guatemala, scheduled for Tuesday morning when he was arrested, the office said.

Investigators were unable to match the other two DNA profiles at the scene to anyone, the complaint said.

Appling had no comment on Roychowder’s arrest Tuesday.

“I am very proud of the tireless and determined efforts that a combined federal, state and local team made to identify and arrest this individual,” said William McCrae, special agent in charge of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. St. Paul Explosives Field Unit handling crimes in Wisconsin. “I am very pleased to see that the alleged perpetrator is in custody.

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