When a package bomb bound for Austin unexpectedly exploded during transit Monday, investigators were tipped off to the bomber's identity after viewing FedEx surveillance footage. The package detonating before intended brought on the string of events that ended the Austin Bomber's month-long bombing campaign that terrorized Austin residents and took the lives of two people.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Austin Community College</span>
Authorities attempted to apprehend Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, early Wednesday morning but before they could he detonated a bomb inside his vehicle taking his own life. Now, Conditt's family are speaking out about the revelation that their own family member was responsible for the string of blasts.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Loren Elliott</span>
In a statement issued Wednesday, Conditt's family said, "We are devastated and broken at the news that our family member could be involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in. Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, and we pray and, we try to inspire and serve others."
The statement continued, "Right now our prayers are for those families who have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving, and we are in shock. Please respect our privacy as we deal with this terrible, terrible knowledge and try to support each other at this time."
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The 23-year-old Conditt was homeschooled until briefly attending Austin Community College from 2010 to 2012. He majored in business administration and took classes at two of the college's campuses. While he did not graduate, the college said he "left the college in 2012 [in] good academic standing."
A family friend also weighed on in the discovery of the bomber's identity saying, "The family is a normal Christian family. There was nothing going on with Mark when I knew him, I knew him as a teenager. He reminded me of every teenage boy, it was hard to get a smile out of him."
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The bomber's vast campaign over the last month calls into question the idea of raising children in a secluded environment in a homeschool setting. Homeschool families are often highly religious and the lack of outside oversight can sometimes lead to abuse. Raising children in a secluded setting without regular social contact with other children is bound to have an effect on a child's psyche but Conditt remains the exception rather than the rule.
While the bomber has been killed, authorities still believe there could be more packages out there that have not yet detonated. Police ask citizens of Austin and surrounding areas to remain vigilant and report any suspicious packages.
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