NEW HOPE, Pa. (AP) — Investigators found the body of one of four missing young men Wednesday night, along with other human remains, buried deep in a common grave on a Pennsylvania farm. They vowed to “bring each and every one of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another.”
Hours before the announced discovery, police arrested a young man whose parents own the farm on a charge tying him to one of the missing men. But little has been said about how all are connected or what might have led to the disappearance of the four. They say at least three of the four men, who went missing last week, knew each other.
Authorities may release more details at a briefing Thursday morning.
The body identified was that of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a midnight news conference he did not know how he died. The other remains have not yet been identified.
“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 the 20-year-old man who was taken into custody earlier Wednesday.
Cosmo DiNardo was being held on $5 million cash bail after he was charged with trying to sell one of the victims’ cars. The car was found on a second DiNardo family property about a half mile from the farm. A second victim’s car was recovered less than 3 miles from the farm.
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 involuntary commitment to a mental health institution.
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 own a concrete company near their home in Bensalem, closer to Philadelphia.
An attorney representing the couple issued a statement 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.
Cadaver dogs led authorities to the spot on the 90-acre (36-hectare) farm in Solebury Township where they discovered the 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,” Weintraub said.
The other missing men are 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick. Patrick, who was a year behind DiNardo at a Catholic high school for boys, was last seen on July 5, while the other three vanished on Friday.
It’s unclear how well the four knew DiNardo, if at all.