“For investigators, there’s always a difficult choice because if the person doesn’t know you’re looking for him, he may stay in place, you may catch up to him. If he does know you’re looking for him, he may run. On the other hand, if you don’t get him, it’s always great to enlist 20 million or so more eyes in the public who may be able to give you a location right away,” said Miller.
It is possible that this decision was affected by the confusion surrounding the possible arrest of a suspect on Wednesday. Several news outlets, including CNN, Fox News, the AP, and The Boston Globe, reported that such an arrest had been made, citing law enforcement sources. The FBI late in the day issued a statement denying such an arrest and asking for the media to exercise responsibility and restraint in its reporting on the case.
On Thursday, other reports indicated that the FBI is also seeking the identification of a second person captured on video who was seen carrying a backpack and behaving suspiciously in the vicinity of the first person of interest.
The Los Angeles Times reported that “the image that shows two men is the first indication that more than one bomber may have been responsible for the attacks.”
The Wall Street Journal also says that the FBI wants to identify a second person seen in the crowd.
However, such leads do not always pan out, cautions the Journal. In the 2010 failed bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square, investigators asked for public help in identifying a man in a red shirt leaving the scene who was caught in photographic images. It turned out that person had nothing to do with the case.