Police have recovered “important” evidence but no human remains as they methodically search a large Pennsylvania farm this week for clues to the disappearance of four young men believed to be victims of foul play.
A county prosecutor said Wednesday the search will remain focused on the 90-acre property owned by a family in the construction and concrete businesses, whose 20-year-old son was briefly held on $1 million bail on an old gun charge.
“We’re going to continue digging and searching that property until we’re satisfied that they are not there,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a morning news conference.
At least some of the missing men are friends, but it’s unclear how well they knew the property owner’s son, Cosmo DiNardo, if at all. DiNardo was released Tuesday evening to his parents’ home in Bensalem while FBI agents sifted through mounds of dirt from a deep pit they dug on the farm about 20 miles away, and police cadets combed the vast cornfields nearby.
“We have recovered several important pieces of evidence at this site, and at other locations,” Weintraub said Wednesday as the search resumed for a fourth day. “This is just really, really rough on everybody involved because of the heat, the magnitude, the scope — and the stakes are incredibly high, life and death.”
The missing men are 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick. Patrick disappeared last Wednesday; the other three vanished Friday. Sturgis and Meo worked together, while Finocchiaro was a mutual friend.
Weintraub has described DiNardo as a person of interest in the case. He was arrested Monday on a charge that had earlier been dismissed, accused of possessing a shotgun despite a previous mental health commitment.
DiNardo’s social media posts suggest an avid interest in hunting, fishing and Air Jordan sneakers, which he appeared to sell online. He had enrolled in a nearby college at one point as a commuter student, with hopes of studying abroad in Italy, according to an article on the college website. He had a few other brushes with the law since turning 18 over traffic violations and other minor infractions.
Weintraub sought the high bail for DiNardo on the gun charge because he now considers him a flight risk. The father, Antonio DiNardo, posted $100,000 Tuesday to bring his son home.
Neither DiNardo’s parents nor his lawyer have commented this week.
The farmland being searched is in the town of Solebury, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.