Timeline: Cosmo DiNardo's troubled past, and the search for his alleged victims

Members of the Montgomery County Community College Municipal Police Academy program search for the four missing men on a Solebury Township farm.

Cosmo DiNardo had dozens of interactions with police, was banned from two school campuses, and exhibited other problematic behaviors beginning as a teenager.  Things escalated drastically in July 2017, when he was implicated in the disappearance and later confessed to the murders of Mark R. Sturgis, Thomas C. Meo, Dean A. Finocchiaro, and Jimi Tar Patrick in July 2017.  Here’s a timeline of DiNardo’s troubled past and the search for his victims:

2011

Aug. 15: Bensalem police first come into contact with Cosmo DiNardo after someone calls to report him riding his ATV on the street.

2015

January: DiNardo is sworn in for his first one-year term as a mayor-appointed member of the Bensalem Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board.

June: DiNardo graduates from Holy Ghost Prep.

Summer: DiNardo meets fellow soon-to-be Arcadia freshman Sara Dinner at a concert. She said he made her uncomfortable and invited her and her friends back to his house. He then contacted her repeatedly on social media in ways she described as “aggressive and uncalled for.”

August: DiNardo enrolls at Arcadia University but only attends class there for one semester.

2016

January: DiNardo begins his second term as a member of the Bensalem Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board.

May: Police respond to a one-person ATV accident at the DiNardos’ Lower York Road property in Solebury. DiNardo said his injury was a broken ankle and he is taken to an unspecified hospital.

July 12:  DiNardo, who has already had 23 encounters with police, is involuntarily committed by his mother, Sandra DiNardo. He is evaluated by Lenape Valley Crisis Center before going to Doylestown Hospital. The length of his commitment is unclear.

Oct. 23: DiNardo shows up uninvited to Holy Ghost Prep’s open house and is loud and disorderly. He is escorted out and banned from the campus.

November: DiNardo is banned from the campus of Arcadia University after verbal interactions with several students and staff when he returns to reenroll.

2017

January: DiNardo takes a one-credit class at Bucks County Community College.

Feb. 9:  Bensalem police receive a call about a man with a shotgun. At 12:49 p.m., Officer Katharine Bailey pulls DiNardo over and finds him with a 20-gauge Savage Arms shotgun, which he is not legally allowed to possess because of his involuntary commitment. He is arraigned but not held in jail.

Feb. 16: Preliminary hearing on the gun charge is continued from March 1 to March 21 at request of DiNardo’s lawyer, Michael Kevin Parlow.

Feb. 21: The hearing is again continued to March 29 at request of Magisterial District Judge Michael Gallagher.

March 24: Bensalem resident Adam Moore says DiNardo rear-ended him in a crash on Hulmeville Road near Park Avenue.

March 29: Preliminary hearing on the gun charge is continued from March 29 to May 30 at the request of the Commonwealth.

May: Attorney for Adam Moore sues DiNardo over the car accident

May 30: Preliminary hearing on the gun charge is held at Judge Gallagher’s office. The charge is dismissed.

 

In the weeks before the killings: Acquaintances of DiNardo’s and friends of the victims said DiNardo bragged about having someone killed over a debt and made “scary insinuations.”

July 5: Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, of Newtown, is last seen. He is the first of the men to go missing. DiNardo told investigators he picked up Patrick to sell him marijuana, then shot, killed and buried him in a remote part of the property.

July 6: Patrick’s grandfather reports him missing.

July 7: The other three men — Mark R. Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg; Thomas C. Meo, 21, of Plumstead; and Dean A. Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown — were seen for the last time.

  • Finocchiaro’s mother reports him missing.
  • DiNardo and Kratz plan to rob Finocchiaro instead of selling him marijuana as planned. They allegedly shoot him in a barn.
  • Later, they allegedly fatally shoot Meo and Sturgis during another purported marijuana deal.
  • The cousins allegedly place the victims in a metal tank, pour gasoline inside and set it on fire.

July 8: Neither Meo nor Sturgis shows up for work. Meo’s mother reports him missing. DiNardo and Kratz allegedly use a backhoe to dig a hole and bury the three men.

July 9: Sturgis’ parents report him missing, and authorities make the search for the four men public. A search warrant is executed at a home in Solebury Township, where investigators find Meo’s car. Sturgis’ vehicle is found near Peddler’s Village.

A Solebury Township policeman guards a garage on Aquetong Road where investigators found the car of one of the four missing men. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)

July 10: Law enforcement officers comb a vast farm property in Solebury in efforts to find the missing men, as the case prompts intense media attention. Among the key developments:

  • Prosecutors say they suspect foul play in the disappearances and consider the case a criminal investigation.
  • Investigators search a farm on the 6000 block of Lower York Road in Solebury Township. The property is owned by Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, of Bensalem.
  • The son of the property owners, 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo, is taken into custody on firearms charges that appear to be unrelated to the missing-persons case. That case began in February and charges were refiled Monday; Cosmo DiNardo is accused of possessing a shotgun and ammunition he wasn’t permitted to have because he had been admitted to a mental-health treatment facility.
Bucks County DA Matthew Weintraub (center) holds a press conference (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)

July 11: Search efforts continue at the Solebury farm. Key updates in the case include:

  • Prosecutors name Cosmo DiNardo as a “person of interest” in the disappearances.
  • DiNardo is released after posting bond for his $1 million bail in the firearms case.
  • Scores of law enforcement officers scour the farm for clues in the disappearances.
Police guard the driveway to the farm in Solebury Township where police are searching. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)

July 12: Human remains are found on the farm as the search for clues in the disappearances continues. Developments include:

  • Cosmo DiNardo is again taken into custody after being charged with stealing a car belonging to Meo. He is held on $5 million bail.
  • Cadaver dogs find human remains at the Solebury property. One victim found was Finocchiaro. At least two other people were buried in the grave and have not yet been identified.
  • Prosecutors call the case a homicide after the discovery of the bodies.
Investigators are back at the DiNardo family farm in Solebury. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)

July 13: As investigators continued work to identify the other bodies found in the grave on the Solebury farm, and determine what happened to them, a lawyer for Cosmo DiNardo said DiNardo confessed to his role in the slayings of the four men.

  • DiNardo “confessed to his participation or commission” in the killings in exchange for a promise from prosecutors that they would not seek the death penalty, his attorney said. DiNardo promised to lead investigators to the grave where the fourth victim was buried. He also told them there was an accomplice. (Criminal complaint against DiNardo)
  • Sean Kratz, 20, was taken into custody in Northeast Philadelphia, according to law enforcement sources. As part of his agreement with prosecutors, DiNardo told them about the co-conspirator. (Criminal complaint against Kratz)
  • The coroner was at the farm Thursday morning. Investigators were still retrieving remains from the grave, prosecutors said.
  • Investigators find Patrick’s body buried at the location where DiNardo told them it would be.

July 14: Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz are charged in the killings. DiNardo faces charges in all four of the slayings, while Kratz is charged in three cases. The two are cousins. Prosecutors also disclose they have found the bodies of all four men. DiNardo and Kratz are arraigned and held without bail.

July 18: Philadelphia police said they are looking into claims by DiNardo that he had killed before — a man and a woman, both in Philadelphia when he was 15.  But they cautioned that the claims were not verified and they had not yet been able to question DiNardo themselves.

July 20: Law enforcement were back on the DiNardo property conducting what the D.A.’s office said was a “walk-through” in preparation to release the crime scene.