NEW HOPE, Pa. (AP) — Investigators found the body of one of four missing young men along with other human remains buried on a Pennsylvania farm, and vowed to “bring each and every one of these lost boys home to their families.”
Cadaver dogs led them to the spot on the 90-acre (36-hectare) farm in Solebury Township where they discovered human remains inside a 12½-foot-deep (3.66-meter-deep) common grave.
“I don’t understand the science behind it, but those dogs could smell these poor boys 12½ feet below the ground,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a midnight news conference.
The body identified was that of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro. Weintraub did not say how he died. The other remains have not yet been identified. The missing men are 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick. Patrick, who attended a Catholic high school for boys with the man authorities consider a suspect, was last seen Wednesday, while the other three vanished Friday.
“This is a homicide; make no mistake about it. We just don’t know how many homicides,” Weintraub said.
Authorities said they are looking at pursuing homicide charges against a 20-year-old man who was taken into custody earlier Wednesday and whose parents own the farm.
Cosmo DiNardo was being held on $5 million cash bail after he was charged with trying to sell another victim’s car after he disappeared. The car was found on the DiNardo family’s property.
DiNardo also had been arrested Monday and held on $1 million bail on an unrelated gun charge before his father paid $100,000 to bail him out Tuesday. The charge stems from accusations that DiNardo was caught with a shotgun and ammunition in February despite a prior mental health commitment.
The back-to-back arrests bought investigators time as they scoured the farm and other spots across the county for clues to the men’s disappearance, Weintraub said.
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.”
The FBI had been using heavy equipment to dig a deep ditch on the farm property, and then sifting through each bucket of dirt by hand.
At least some of the missing men are friends, but it’s unclear how well they knew DiNardo, if at all.