The body of one of the four young men who went missing in Pennsylvania last week has been discovered and identified by authorities, police said Wednesday.
Speaking at a midnight press conference, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said that the remains of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro were found in a "grave" that was more than 12-feet deep, located on a large farm north of Philadelphia. Finocchiaro went missing last Friday along with 22-year-old Mark Sturgis and 21-year-old Tom Meo. A fourth young man, 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick, has been missing since last Wednesday.
"There are additional human remains inside that grave, so this painstaking process will go on. We're not done yet," Weintraub said. "This is a homicide — make no mistake about it. We just don't know how many homicides."
The "grave," he added, was found by cadaver dogs, he said. "I don’t understand the science behind it," Weintraub said, "but those dogs could smell these poor boys twelve-and-a-half feet below the ground."
Weintraub did not say how Finocchiaro was killed, or if the other three missing young men are believed to be among the bodies found. Police said some or all of the missing men appeared to know each other, but the nature of their relationships, and the circumstances surrounding their disappearances, remain unclear.
The discovery is a bleak development in the investigation, which prompted a massive search effort across the suburban Philadelphia county. Since Saturday, the effort, aided by the FBI, has focused largely on a 90-acre farm in Solebury Township, where authorities have used dogs, ATVs, and heavy construction equipment to dig up evidence.
"We're going to see this investigation to the end," Weintraub said, "We're going to bring each and everyone of these's lost boys homes to their families, one way or another."
Earlier on Wednesday, a 20-year-old whose parents own the farm was named as a “person of interest” in the case, and charged with stealing a car that belonged to Meo, one the missing men. The man, Cosmo DiNardo, had been arrested on Monday, on an unrelated weapons charge, but was released the following day after his father posted 10% of his $1 million bond.
The weapons charge, which was initially filed in February, accused DiNardo of having a shot gun despite not being allowed to own a firearm due to his history of mental illness, according to an affidavit obtained by NBC10. Though the charge had previously been dismissed, it was refiled Monday amid the investigation into the four missing men.
After DiNardo was released from custody on that charge Tuesday night, authorities arrested him again the following day, and accused him of trying to sell Meo's car to a friend. The car was found by police at 4 a.m. Sunday on property owned by DiNardo's parents, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
Meo's diabetic kit, "which he would never leave without," was found inside the car, Weintraub said.
DiNardo was arraigned on felony theft charges, and a judge ordered him held on $5 million bail, saying he posed "a grave risk," the Washington Post reported.
Though it's not entirely clear how all of the missing men might be connected, most, if not all, of them are believed to have known each other. Sturgis and Meo worked together at Sturgis’s father’s construction business, and Finocchiaro was said to have been a mutual friend of the two, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It also not clear what their relationships were to DiNardo. According to the Inquirer, though, he and Patrick both attended Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, while DiNardo and Finocchiaro both were interested in ATVs and were in at least one Facebook group together about quad bikes.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.