Police in Pennsylvania found the body of one of four missing men they had been searching for on a sprawling rural farm north of Philadelphia, and a local prosecutor confirmed on Thursday that investigators were treating the case as a murder.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said that the remains were located in a makeshift grave that was nearly 13-feet deep on the property.
The victims are 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick.
On Wednesday, police arrested a young man whose parents own the farm on a charge he tried to sell a auto belonging to one of the missing men.
Dinardo is being held on $5 million bail. However, Kratz told police that Dinardo was the one who shot Finocchiaro.
Cadaver dogs led authorities to the spot on the 90-acre (36-hectare) farm in Solebury Township where they discovered the remains inside a 12°-foot-deep (3.66-meter-deep) common grave.
Finocchiaro, Meo and Sturgis all knew each other, the AP reported, and news outlets have reported that cars belonging to two of the men have been located.
Cosmo Dinardo, 20, was charged with four counts each of criminal homicide, conspiracy and abuse of a corpse as well as with robbery and a weapons charge, documents show.
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"DiNardo took Patrick to a remote part of the property and gave him a shotgun". He said he used a backhoe to dig the hole in which he buried Patrick's body.
The search has focused on the extensive property - owned by Dinardo's parents, Antonio and Sandra, according to prosecutors - in Solebury Township.
"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. DiNardo said he then used the backhoe to lift the bodies of Meo and Sturgis and place them in the same metal tank where he had placed Finocchiaro's body.
DiNardo has had 30 "contacts" with the Bensalem Police Department over the last six years, the department's director, Frederick Harran, said in a telephone interview. DiNardo drove a backhoe to the crime scene and buried him, the documents state.
The bail was set Wednesday for 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo after he was arrested on charges he had tried to sell the stolen vehicle of one of the missing men, 21-year-old Tom Meo. In Pennsylvania, a district attorney's office may ask a police department to rearrest a person if the case's statute of limitations has not expired.
"I am very, very relieved to say that we've brought four young men one step closer to their loved ones so that they can rest in peace". The commitment meant he was barred from possessing guns, but nonetheless he had one in February when police charged him with having a shotgun. He said he took Finocchiaro in his auto but kicked him out after declining to sell him drugs and then spent the rest of the night fishing.
When they arrived, DiNardo said Patrick only had $800. The suspect remains in custody on $5 million cash bail.
The girlfriend of Moe said investigators had exchanged text messages with his companion up to about 19 hours, and then nothing more, which would be "out of the ordinary and unusual", she says.