Body, more re­mains found in search for missing men

Author­i­ties are pur­su­ing homi­cide charges

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Doug Stan­glin USA TODAY

In­ves­ti­ga­tors who found the body of one of four missing friends in a com­mon grave filled with hu­man re­mains in Penn­syl­va­nia charged a fifth young man with try­ing to il­le­gally sell one of the youth's cars.

The 90- acre farm north of Phil­a­del­phia where author­i­ties un­cov­ered the re­mains and stolen ve­hi­cle is owned by the sus­pect's par­ents. The FBI spent sev­eral days dig­ging up the grave and sift­ing through the dirt for ev­i­dence.

“This is a homi­cide; make no mis­take about it. We just don’t know how many homi­cides,” Bucks County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Matt Wein­traub said at a mid­night news con­fer­ence Thurs­day.

Author­i­ties are pur­su­ing homi­cide charges against Cosmo DiNardo, 20, whose bail was set at $ 5 mil­lion cash Wed­nes­day in con­nec­tion with the stolen car. On Tues­day, DiNardo was re­leased on $ 1 mil­lion bail on an un­re­lated gun charge.

The ear­lier charge stems from ac­cu­sa­tions DiNardo was found with a shot­gun and am­mu­ni­tion in Fe­bru­ary de­spite a prior men­tal health com­mit­ment. An af­fi­davit in that case said he is “known to be suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­ness.”

The body found in the 12 1/ 2 foot com­mon grave Wed­nes­day was iden­ti­fied as Dean Finoc­chiaro, 19. Also missing are Mark Stur­gis, 22, Tom Meo, 21, and Jimi Tar Patrick, 19. Patrick, who at­tended a Catholic high school for boys with DiNardo, was last seen Wed­nes­day, while the other three van­ished Fri­day.

Meo's grand­fa­ther, Chuck Meo, told an NBC News pro­ducer that crews found the re­mains un­der a blue tarp af­ter lift­ing out a propane tank, WCAU- TV re­ported.

DiNardo was charged af­ter author­i­ties, us­ing li­cense tag track­ing de­vices, found Meo's 1996 Nis­san Max­ima on the same farm where the body was dis­cov­ered.

Wein­traub said in­ves­ti­ga­tors found Meo's crit­i­cal di­a­betes treat­ment kit in the car. The crim­i­nal com­plaint in the case said the keys and ti­tle to the car were found hang­ing up on the wall in­side the garage of the prop­erty. Author­i­ties said the ti­tle had not been signed, in­di­cat­ing Meo had not trans­ferred the ti­tle to any­one or au­tho­rized its sale.

Wein­traub said an un­named wit­ness told author­i­ties DiNardo at­tempted to sell the car to him for $ 500.

At least some of the missing men are friends, but it’s un­clear how well they knew DiNardo, if at all.

Eric Beitz, 20, of Ben­salem, Pa., said Wed­nes­day that he and his friends re­cently spent time with DiNardo, who seemed to have “ul­te­rior mo­tives.”

“I can tell you on mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions, on mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent ac­counts, from mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self — Cosmo has spo­ken about weird things like killing peo­ple and hav- ing peo­ple killed,” Beitz told The

Phil­a­del­phia Inquirer. “Ev­ery­body you talk to about this guy, you hear he’s men­tally un­sta­ble.”

Ac­cord­ing to Beitz, DiNardo also sold mar­i­juana and guns, and ag­gres­sively sought new cus­tomers. Teens reg­u­larly cir­cu­lated DiNardo’s num­ber, he told the news­pa­per.

DiNardo’s par­ents, An­to­nio and San­dra DiNardo, own the farm in up­per Bucks County, a bu­colic area with rolling hill­sides, new hous­ing devel­op­ments and his­toric sites. They also own a nearby farm par­cel that was also searched and a con­crete com­pany near their home in Ben­salem, closer to Phil­a­del­phia.

An at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the cou­ple is­sued a state­ment ear­lier Wed­nes­day say­ing they sym­pa­thize with the fam­i­lies of the missing men and are co­op­er­at­ing “in ev­ery way pos­si­ble with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

DiNardo's so­cial me­dia posts sug­gest an avid in­ter­est in hunt­ing, fish­ing and Air Jor­dan sneak­ers, which he ap­peared to sell on­line. He en­rolled in a nearby col­lege at one point as a com­muter stu­dent, with hopes of study­ing abroad in Italy, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle on the school's web­site.

CLEM MUR­RAY, THE PHIL­A­DEL­PHIA INQUIRER, VIA AP

In­ves­ti­ga­tors gather un­der tents as they search a prop­erty on Thurs­day in Sole­bury, Pa., for four missing young men.

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