The Umarovs were questioned by immigration officials extensively about the reasons for the return trip to Chechnya when they left Boston last summer, scrutiny that only intensified when they returned without Heda, law enforcement sources said.
"They had a hard time getting out of the country and an even harder time coming back when she [Heda] was not with them,'' said a law enforcement official familiar with the Umarov family.
The questioning led Heda's sister, Hawa Umarova, 26, to complain to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force officials that her family was treated like "terrorists," the sources said, despite their constant cooperation with various local and federal law enforcement agencies.
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Keyes confirmed that Hawa Umarova was cooperative with his officers last April after the identities of the suspected marathon bombers became known and that her family submitted to a voluntary search of their home during the desperate search for Dhzokhar Tsarnaev.
Federal investigators were led to Chelsea initially by Twitter messages exchanged between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Junes Umarov a day before the twin blasts exploded along the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding another 260 others last April 15.
In addition to the social media exchanges between Junes and Dzhokhar, federal authorities are now also scrutinizing a Russian social networking page using the name Heda Umarova that was linked to a fan page for Dzhokhar on the same social networking site.
The page is sympathetic to Tsarnaev and his supporters, who insist on his innocence. It features several pictures of the Umarov siblings with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including one with Heda, her brother Adam, and "Johar" as a boy, which is the Russian spelling of the accused terrorist's nickname.
But the postings on the Heda Umarova VK page that have concerned federal counter-terrorism officials include photographs of several women dressed as jihadi fighters in Chechnya, taken probably about a decade ago, an expert said.
In one photo, a woman in a black headscarf is toting an AK-47 rifle. Other extremist postings support martyrdom and violence for Islam.
Days after ABC News spoke with Heda’s parents, the images in question and the link to the fan page for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev disappeared from the Heda Umarova VK page.
The social networking page also included links to Kavkaz Center, which is a jihadist media portal linked to Doku Umarov, the jihadi leader of the Caucusus Emirate who threatened to strike the Sochi Olympics last July. There is no familial relation to the terror leader and Umarov is a common name, family members in Chelsea, Mass. told ABC News.
Investigators found a YouTube page created by Tamerlan Tsarnaev that included a lecture given by a leader connected to Doku Umarov, law enforcement officials said, but there is no evidence the North Caucasus militant leader influenced the marathon attacks.