Investigators are painstakingly excavating the 12.5-foot-deep grave where the body of one of four missing men and other human remains were found, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said Thursday.
The body — identified as Dean Finocchiaro, 19 — was discovered Wednesday on a sprawling property in suburban Philadelphia. Additional human remains were found inside a “common grave” but haven’t been identified, Weintraub said.
“We are not done yet. This is a homicide, make no mistake about it,” Weintraub told reporters. “We just don’t know how many homicides.”
Here are the key developments in the investigation:
• Investigators are combing the property for a fifth day.
• The son of the property owners has been arrested on charges related to the investigation.
• Weintraub declined to name any suspects in the homicide.
• The missing Pennsylvania men are between the ages of 19 and 22.
Finocchiaro, who was last seen at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, was one of the four young men who mysteriously disappeared last week.
The “all hands on deck” investigation into their whereabouts has centered on a farmland property in Solebury Township owned by Antonio and Sandra Dinardo. Local and state police and the FBI are involved in the search.
Cadaver dogs led authorities to discover the grave on the property Wednesday, Weintraub said.
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Cosmo Dinardo, 20, the son of the property owners, was arrested Wednesday and accused of stealing and attempting to sell the vehicle of Thomas Meo, another of the missing men. Dinardo is accused of trying to sell the 1996 Nissan Maxima a day after Meo was reported missing.
The Dinardo family owns a cement and construction company called Cosan LLC.
Investigators resumed their excavation of the grave Thursday for more evidence and to identify the other remains.
“We are going to bring each and everyone one of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another,” Weintraub said.
Finocchiaro and the three others went missing over several days last week within miles of each other.
The first to vanish was Jimi Patrick of Newtown Township. He was last seen at 6 p.m. on July 5 and was reported missing the next day after he had no contact with friends or family.
Police say the Loyola University Maryland student, 19, also didn’t show up for work. He was a beer runner at a restaurant-bar in nearby Doylestown, CNN affiliate WPVI-TV reported.
“He was on the shyer side, but you would get a smile out of him, a little conversation,” bartender Jennifer Albrecht told WPVI.
Patrick graduated from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in 2016, where Dinardo was also a graduate in 2015, according to Bill Doherty, the school’s director of communications.
Two days later after Patrick disappeared, Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg and Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township went missing.
Close friends Sturgis and Meo were last seen near the Doylestown area in Bucks County, CNN affiliate KYW-TV reported. Both young men didn’t go to work on Saturday, police said.
Meo’s girlfriend told investigators that she had been texting with him on Friday until just before 7 p.m. After that, she had no contact with Meo, which was “out of the ordinary and not common,” court documents said.
The men’s disappearances have rankled the community, and about 100 residents and reporters gathered at a shopping mall a few miles from the property waiting for updates about them.
“We’ve been monitoring everything on Twitter. We wanted to be supportive and comforting for our community,” said Wyatt McLeod, who lives in Bucks County.
While the search intensified, Dinardo was arrested for the second time in a week after allegedly trying to sell Meo’s Nissan Maxima.
Data from a police license plate reader captured Dinardo’s pickup and Meo’s car driving in Solebury Township within seconds of each other at about 7:49 p.m. Friday, court documents said.
Meo’s vehicle was found at a separate property owned by the Dinardo family, a day after authorities said Dinardo attempted to sell Meo’s car to a friend for $500, according to a criminal affidavit.
The car was still registered to Meo and had not been legally exchanged. The keys and title to the vehicle were folded up and hanging on a wall inside a garage on the property, the affidavit said.
Meo is a diabetic, yet his life-saving diabetic kit was still in the vehicle, Weintraub said.
Dinardo was first arrested Monday on a charge of possession of a firearm, an offense dating to February unrelated to the missing men case, Weintraub said.
Dinardo was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he had a mental illness and had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for inpatient care, court documents said.
A judge dismissed the charge in May, but the Bucks County district attorney’s office authorized police to reinstate and refile charges last month.
Dinardo was released Tuesday evening after his father paid 10% of his $1 million bail in cash, but by Wednesday Dinardo was arrested again.
This time, he’s facing one count each of theft and receiving stolen property, and is being held on $5 million bail.
Fortunato Perri Jr., an attorney representing the Dinardo family, released a statement, WPVI reported.
“As parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dinardo sympathize with the parents and families of the missing young men and they are cooperating in every way possible with the investigation being conducted by law enforcement,” the statement said.
For five days, dozens of law enforcement officers on foot and by air have searched the farmland owned by Dinardo’s parents. Large makeshift tents were set up across the property, and investigative teams dug for evidence using large machinery.
“They’re down 12-foot deep in a hole that’s getting deeper by the minute,” Weintraub said Thursday.
Earlier, he said he was encouraged by the pace of the investigation he called “massive” in scope.
“Take the biggest (investigation) you’ve ever seen and multiply it by a million,” he said.
Susan Mangano and her teenage daughters said this quiet community has not seen anything like this before.
“We live here, we pass by, we saw the helicopters,” Mangano said. “As a parent, it’s been sickening to watch this. I have kids this age. It’s just devastating.”