Person of interest admits to participating in murders of missing Pennsylvania men

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 20:13:50-04

HOPE, Pa. – A Pennsylvania man has confessed that he was involved in the deaths of four missing men in eastern Pennsylvania, his lawyer told reporters Thursday.

Cosmo DiNardo, 20, confessed on Thursday to "his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men," attorney Paul Lang said.

Cosmo Dinardo, 20, admitted through an attorney to "his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men." (Buck's County District Attorney's Office)

Bucks County prosecutors promised not to seek the death penalty in exchange for his confession, Lang said.

DiNardo told authorities where to find the bodies, the lawyer said, He declined to directly respond to questions of whether DiNardo killed the men.

"That will come out in time," he said.

DiNardo was arrested earlier this week on charges stemming from the investigation. His parents own the sprawling suburban Philadelphia property where the body of one of the missing men was found Wednesday. His confession came as investigators worked to excavate the 12-foot-deep grave where the body was found along with other human remains.

The body was identified as belonging to Dean Finocchiaro, 19. Additional human remains were found inside a "common grave" but haven't been identified, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said Thursday.

"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."

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 centered on a farmland property in Solebury Township owned by Antonio and Sandra Dinardo. The Dinardo family owns a cement and construction company called Cosan LLC. Cadaver dogs led authorities to discover the grave on the property Wednesday, Weintraub said.

"We are going to bring each and everyone one of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another," Weintraub said.

Missing men

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, school spokesman Bill Doherty said.

Two days later after Patrick disappeared, Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, and Thomas 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 did not 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 shaken the community. 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 Bucks County resident Wyatt McLeod.

An arrest

While the search intensified, DiNardo was arrested for the second time in a week after allegedly trying to sell Meo's 1996 Nissan Maxima the day after Meo was reported missing.

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.

Farmland search

For five days, dozens of law enforcement officers 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."