PENNSYLVANIA — A lawyer for Cosmo DiNardo, a 20-year-old man who was arrested Wednesday for attempting to sell a vehicle belonging to one of four missing men in eastern Pennsylvania, said his client has confessed to “his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men.”
Attorney Paul Lang told reporters the confession came after the district attorney promised not to seek the death penalty. DiNardo told authorities where to find the bodies, Lang said.
Dean Finocchiaro and three other men between 19 and 22 went missing over several days last week within miles of each other.
The first to vanish was Jimi Patrick of Newtown Township. He was last seen at 6 p.m. on July 5 and was reported missing the next day after he had no contact with friends or family.
Police say the 19-year-old also didn’t show up for work. He was a beer runner at a restaurant-bar in nearby Doylestown, CNN affiliate WPVI-TV reported.
“He was on the shyer side, but you would get a smile out of him, a little conversation,” bartender Jennifer Albrecht told WPVI.
Two days later, Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg and Tom Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township went missing.
Close friends Sturgis and Meo were last seen near the Doylestown area in Bucks County, CNN affiliate KYW-TV reported. Both young men didn’t go to work on Saturday, police said.
Meo’s girlfriend told investigators that she had been texting with him on Friday until just before 7 p.m. After that, she had no contact with Meo, which was “out of the ordinary and not common,” court documents said.
While a search for the missing men intensified, a 20-year-old from the area was arrested and accused of stealing and attempting to sell Meo’s 1996 Nissan Maxima.
Data from a police license plate reader captured Cosmo Dinardo’s pickup and Meo’s car driving in Solebury Township within seconds of each other at about 7:49 p.m. Friday, court documents said.
Meo’s vehicle was found at a property owned by the Dinardo family, a day after authorities said Dinardo attempted to sell Meo’s car to a friend for $500, according to a criminal affidavit.
The car was still registered to Meo and had not been legally exchanged. The keys and title to the vehicle were folded up and hanging on the wall inside the garage of the property, the affidavit said.
Meo is a diabetic, yet his diabetic life-saving kit was still in the vehicle, Weintraub said.
Dinardo was first arrested Monday on a charge of possession of a firearm, an offense dating to February unrelated to the missing men case, Weintraub said.
Dinardo was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he had a mental illness and had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for inpatient care, court documents said.
A judge dismissed the charge in May, but the Bucks County district attorney’s office authorized police to reinstate and refile charges last month.
Dinardo was released Tuesday evening after his father paid 10% of his $1 million bail in cash, but by Wednesday Dinardo was arrested again.
This time, he’s facing one count each of theft and receiving stolen property. His bail was set at $5 million cash after Weintraub argued he was a flight risk.
Dinardo may be the only person facing charges in connection with the case as of Thursday, but it’s still unclear whether he knew or had contact with Finocchiaro or any of other three men.
Fortunato Perri Jr., an attorney representing the Dinardo family, released a statement, WPVI reported.
“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.