***UPDATE 1: Cosmo Dinardo, already in police custody as a person of interest, confesses to ‘participation in murders of four young men,’ his defense attorney says. DiNardo confessed and told investigators where the bodies were in return for no death penalty.
UPDATE 2: According to the Associated Press, citing a source, Dinardo killed the men ‘separately’ and ‘burned their bodies’ after selling them marijuana—-The source also said Dinardo had a co-conspirator in the killings.
Doylestown, PA — Investigators found human remains in a deep common grave on a rural Solebury Township property Wednesday, including the body of at least one of four area men who went missing last week, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub announced at a midnight news conference.
The body of Dean Finocchiaro, 19 (top photo), missing from his Middletown Township home since Friday, was identified, Weintraub told reporters gathered at the Village of Logan Square parking lot near New Hope.
Additional human remains are still in the grave, which Weintraub said is more than 12 feet deep. Recovery efforts will resume this morning. He said cadaver dogs led investigators to the site.
Weintraub declined to say how Finocchiaro might have died, but added: “This was a homicide. Make no doubt about it.”
He made the announcement after driving to Middletown to meet with Finocchiaro’s family and inform them of the young man’s death.
Finocchiaro was one of four men reported missing last week, three from Bucks County and one from Montgomery County. Still not accounted for are Thomas Meo (third photo), 21, of Plumstead Township; Mark Sturgis (fourth photo), 22, of Pennsburg; and Jimi Patrick (fifth photo), 19, of Newtown Township.
Patrick has been missing since July 5; the others since July 7.
“We’re going to see this investigation through to the end,” Weintraub said. “We’re going to bring each of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another.”
Police uncovered the remains after four days of combing a sprawling landscape of adjacent properties owned by Antonio and Sandra Dinardo along Route 202 and Aquetong Road in normally placid, picturesque Solebury. Turmoil invaded on Sunday, when scores of investigators and searchers began focusing on the Dinardos’ land.
The owners’ son, 20-year-old Cosmo Dinardo of Bensalem, has been deemed a “person of interest” by Weintraub.
While Dinardo has not been charged with Finocchiaro’s death, he is jailed in lieu of $5 million cash bail after being arrested Wednesday afternoon, accused of stealing and trying to sell a car belonging to another of the missing men.
Dinardo was arraigned via video before Magisterial District Judge Maggie Snow, charged with theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property, both third-degree felonies. In agreeing to set bail at $5 million, Snow called Dinardo “a grave risk” of fleeing.
He is charged with stealing a 1996 Nissan Maxima belonging to Meo, who has been missing since Friday, and trying to sell it to a friend in Bensalem.
The day after Meo vanished, Weintraub said, “we allege that Cosmo Dinardo attempted to sell Meo’s vehicle for $500 to a friend whose identity we know but are protecting in the court documents for potential safety.”
Police found Meo’s Nissan at 4 a.m. Sunday on an Aquetong Road property owned by the Dinardos. The car’s title was found inside the vehicle, unsigned by Meo, along with his insulin kit for diabetes.
“There was no legal exchange of that vehicle,” Weintraub said, adding that Meo “never went anywhere without” his insulin kit, without which he could not survive.
A link to the charging documents in that case can be found below.
On Tuesday, Weintraub had identified Dinardo as a “person of interest” in the investigation. Dinardo had been released Tuesday evening from the Bucks County Correctional Facility after his father posted 10 percent of $1 million bail on an unrelated firearms charge.
At Wednesday’s arraignment, First Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shore argued strenuously for an even higher bail, noting that Dinardo had a history of severe mental illness, that he had been committed to a mental health facility after firing a shotgun, that the new charges involved one of the missing men, and that Dinardo and his family’s property are at the nexus of the ongoing investigation.
Snow granted Shore’s request, noting what she called “the gravity of what is going on right now.”
Despite the focus on Dinardo, Weintraub said, “this investigation is still wide open. We are going to go where it leads us. We don’t pick a person and then try to build a case around that person. That’s not fair to anyone. As of this moment, he remains a person of interest. But if others arise and we can name them, we will.”
Weintraub continued to urge anyone who has information that could be helpful to the investigation to call 215-297-8201