A mass grave found in a corn field has yielded the remains of at least one of the four acquaintances who vanished within a week of each other in Pennsylvania.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub identified the remains as those of Dean Finocchiaro. The 19-year-old went missing from his Middletown Township home Friday.
Thursday's grim news, more of which is sure to come as investigators identify the "additional human remains that are still in the grave," was announced after Weintraub revealed an arrest has been made in connection with the strange and widening case.
Weintraub declined to say how Finocchiaro might have died, but added, "This was a homicide. Make no doubt about it," according to a release from the Bucks County DA.
Finocchiaro was one of four men reported missing last week, three from Bucks County and one from Montgomery County. Still not accounted for are Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg; and Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township.
Patrick has been missing since July 5; the others since July 7.
"We're going to see this investigation through to the end," Weintraub said. "We're going to bring each of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another."
Cosmo DiNardo, 20, was charged with theft and receiving stolen property for trying to sell a car belonging to Meo a day after his disappearance, Weintraub told reporters at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Police uncovered the remains after four days of combing a sprawling landscape of adjacent properties owned by DiNardo's parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, in the pastoral town of Solebury.
DiNardo has not been charged with Finocchiaro’s death. He is jailed in lieu of $5 million cash bail after being arrested Wednesday afternoon.
DiNardo had been released Tuesday evening from the Bucks County Correctional Facility after his father posted 10 percent of $1 million bail on an unrelated firearms charge.
At Wednesday’s arraignment, First Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shore argued strenuously for an even higher bail, noting that DiNardo had a history of severe mental illness, that he had been committed to a mental health facility after firing a shotgun, that the new charges involved one of the missing men, and that DiNardo and his family’s property is at the nexus of the ongoing investigation.
A judge granted Shore’s request, noting what she called “the gravity of what is going on right now.”
Despite the focus on DiNardo, Weintraub said, “This investigation is still wide open. We are going to go where it leads us. We don’t pick a person and then try to build a case around that person. That’s not fair to anyone. As of this moment, he remains a person of interest. But if others arise and we can name them, we will.”
DiNardo’s parents released a statement through their attorney.
"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," it said.