Cosmo DiNardo, originally identified as a “person of interest” in the case, has confessed to the killings and human remains have been found in Bucks County in the days-longsearch for four young men who have been missing since last week. Here’s what we know so far — and what we don’t know — about the disappearances.
What we know
Confession made: Cosmo DiNardo has “confessed to his participation or commission” in the killings of the four missing men in exchange for prosecutors promising not to seek the death penalty against him, DiNardo’s defense attorney said. The attorney said DiNardo “did give a full confession and he was very forthright and gave all relevant details that he could.”
Remains found: On Wednesday, investigators found human remains on a Bucks County farm owned by the parents of Cosmo DiNardo. At least some of the remains were identified as belonging to Dean A. Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown, who was among the four missing men. The remains were found buried more than 12-feet underground. DiNardo admitted dumping three of the missing men’s bodies in the grave, a source told the Inquirer and Daily News. He is expected to lead investigators to the grave of the fourth victim.
Who is missing: Investigators were looking for four young men, identified as: Mark R. Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg; Thomas C. Meo, 21, of Plumstead; Dean A. Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown; and Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, of Newtown. Finocchiaro’s remains were identified in the grave found on the farm.
Second suspect: An alleged accomplice of DiNardo’s, 20-year-old Sean Kratz, was taken into custody in Northeast Philadelphia, according to law enforcement sources. DiNardo had told investigators there was an accomplice in the killings, a source said.
When the four were last seen: Sturgis and Meo were last seen Friday, July 7. Finocchiaro, who was last seen being picked up by a fifth person who is not missing, also was last seen Friday, while Patrick was last seen Wednesday, July 5.
Where investigators have been searching: Crews have been focusing on farm acreage on the 6000 block of Lower York Road in Solebury Township, combing the vast property with metal detectors and a backhoe. The property is owned by Antonio and Sandra DiNardo of Bensalem. The search includes the FBI.
Other places that have been searched: Investigators on Sunday executed a search warrant at a nearby home in Solebury, finding Meo’s car in the garage. Sturgis’ vehicle was found at Peddlers Village in Lahaska, according to his father. Search warrants for other properties have been filed but they remain under seal.
Homicide case: Authorities have said foul play was suspected, and at a press conference about the found remains, District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said: “This is a homicide, make no mistake about it.” Murder charges have not yet been filed, however.
DiNardo’s past: Cosmo DiNardo, the 20-year-old son of the property owners, was first taken into custody Monday in a firearms case, and authorities Tuesday called him a “person of interest” in the disappearances. The firearms charge had previously been dismissed but was refiled Monday. DiNardo was originally arrested for allegedly possessing a shotgun and ammunition he was not permitted to have because he had a “mental illness” and had been involuntarily committed to an inpatient treatment facility, according to a criminal complaint filed in February. The refiled charge is not related to the missing-persons investigation. DiNardo was again taken into custody on Wednesday, on charges of stealing a car that belonged to Meo. He was banned from Arcadia University’s campus in 2016.
Kratz’s past: Kratz was out on bail on separate charges, with two pending burglary cases in Philadelphia courts. His attorney in a Philadelphia case on Thursday requested a continuance.
The motive: DiNardo’s lawyer would not comment on the motive in the killings. Family members have said they were baffled by the men’s disappearances, and didn’t know of any reason for them to have gone missing. The Associated Press reported that the victims were killed after DiNardo felt cheated in drug transactions.
Roles in the slayings: It is not clear exactly what part DiNardo and Kratz each allegedly played in the killings. As to whether DiNardo’s parents, the property owners, were involved his attorney said, “As far as I know, no,” but left further comment to the parents’ lawyers.
Other remains in the grave: Authorities have not yet identified who was in the grave found at the Bucks farm, other than Finocchiaro. Prosecutors did not disclose the state of the remains or say how many bodies were found.
Locations of any other bodies: While three of the victims were buried in the grave, according to a source, the fourth was elsewhere on the property. That victim’s location has not been disclosed.
How or when the men died: Officials did not disclose how Finocchiaro was killed or when he was believed to have died. Authorities also have not detailed how the other men were killed.
Grand jury proceedings: Prosecutors have declined to confirm reports of grand jury proceedings in the case.
Report of gunshots: Residents have reported having heard gunshots in the area near the DiNardo farm over the weekend, but prosecutors have declined to comment on those reports.