SOLEBURY TWP. >> Cosmo DiNardo has been identified by authorities as a “person of interest” in the disappearance of four men.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub outlined the new development at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Solebury Township, a day after DiNardo was charged with an unrelated weapons offense.
Search teams have focused efforts on a 90-acre property on the 6000 block of Lower York Road, which is Route 202, in Solebury that is owned by DiNardo’s parents, Sandra and Antonio.
“We’re going through it with the equivalent of a fine-tooth comb,” the district attorney said, noting 40 cadets from the Montgomery County Police Academy were brought to the site today to scour the cornfield for evidence. “It’s going to take us a very long time to get through it.”
Weintraub said no human remains have been recovered at this point at the site, which contains a house and barn. He declined to say if any physical evidence of the men missing from last week has been recovered on the property and what led investigators there.
Police said Jimi Tar Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, was the first to go missing on Wednesday. That was followed by the disappearances of 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, of Pennsburg in Montgomery County, Dean Finocchiaro, 18, of Middletown Township, and 21-year-old Tom Meo, of Plumstead Township, on Friday.
Foul play is suspected in the disappearance of the men, Weintraub said Monday.
In an unrelated matter, DiNardo was charged Monday with possession of a firearm in Bensalem Township. He was held on 10 percent of $1 million bail.
The charge stems from a February case that was previously dismissed in May by a district judge.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by prosecutors, DiNardo, of the 900 block of Wayland Circle in Bensalem, was “suffering from mental illness” at the time of his February arrest and was involuntarily committed to a mental institution for inpatient treatment. DiNardo was found to be in possession of a Savage Arms 20-gauge shotgun and ammo, court documents outline.
Weintraub said prosecutors submitted a letter back in June to refile the charge.
“Sometimes, that’s out of our control,” the district attorney explained.
As of last night, the district attorney said DiNardo failed to post the required bail amount of $100,000 to set him free.
Weintraub said prosecutors urged for the higher bail because DiNardo is a person of interest and is considered a greater flight risk. The district attorney declined to disclose if DiNardo is cooperating with police.
DiNardo has some connections to the missing men.
DiNardo is Facebook friends with Patrick.
Police sources say DiNardo also picked up one of the missing boys, but Weintraub wouldn’t comment Tuesday if he was seen with any of the missing men when asked.
Sturgis’ dad said he was instructed not to speak with the press when he was reached by phone on Monday afternoon.
Before he was censored, however, he told Philly.com that his son’s car was recovered at Peddler’s Village and that Meo’s car was found in the garage of the abandoned property on the 2800 block of Aquetong Road, which is also owned by the DiNardo family.
The Route 202 search area and the Aquetong Road property are right around the corner from each other in Solebury. A neighbor who lives near the DiNardo’s large farm property off Route 202 called the son “pretty nutty” on Monday.
“He used to walk around here in camouflage with a gun hunting squirrels,” the neighbor said. “He’s a scary kid.”
The FBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, the attorney general’s office and a handful of local agencies are working on the investigation.
“This is a slow and steady,” Weintraub said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Weintraub also indicated that authorities “need the public’s help right now” with information that connects the missing four men together, connects them to the Route 202 property and connects them to DiNardo.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of the men is asked to call 215-297-8201, or to submit a tip anonymously online at bucks.crimewatchpa.com.
“Keep those tips coming,” the district attorney urged. “We are running down every single tip that you give us.”