USA TODAY International Edition
Body, more remains found in search for missing men
Authorities are pursuing homicide charges
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.