Two 20-year-old men were charged with multiple counts of homicide after the mutilated bodies of four missing men were found buried on a sprawling property in Solebury Township, Pennsylvania.
Cosmo DiNardo, of Bensalem, and his cousin Sean Kratz, of Northeast Philadelphia, were charged July 14 with killing the men that were reported missing one week earlier, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub announced at a press conference.
“Many of the people you see next to me worked tirelessly,” Weintraub said. “We had to force them to leave when their shifts were over, they insisted on being there.”
DiNardo is accused of killing the four men while Kratz played a part in the slaying of the other three.
One day prior, a major breakthrough was made in the case. At a rare midnight press conference — on July 13 — Weintraub said that human remains were found on the property they had been searching since the men went missing starting July 5.
Some of the human remains were positively identified as Finocchiaro, from nearby Middletown Township. The remains were found with others buried inside of a grave that was about 12-feet deep, Weintraub said at the press conference.
Th remains were discovered on a 90-acre farm on the DiNardo family property in Solebury. Cosmo had been named as a “person of interest” in the case early on and confessed to the murders July 13.
According to Cosmo’s confession to police, the men were all on the property to purchase marijuana from Cosmo.
Here’s what you need to know about Meo:
1. Human Remains Were Discovered in a 12-Foot Deep Grave
Ever since the men went missing, police had been searching for leads in the case and jumped at any opportunity to gain more information about the suspects After receiving tips and interviewing people with knowledge to the case’s background, they stumbled upon a “person of interest” over the weekend. That person was Cosmo, who police have described as having mental health issues.
Police used heavy machine equipment, cadaver dogs and the assistance of the F.B.I.’s evidence recovery team in the search, but came up empty.
That’s until July 12, when a major break in the case was made when search teams located the remains of Finocchiaro. The others were identified shortly thereafter.
2. DiNardo Said He Ran Over Meo’s Body With a Backhoe
In a confession given by DiNardo, he said he first killed Patrick after he came to his home to purchase marijuana with less money than agreed upon.
Court documents accuse DiNardo of trying to sell him four pounds of marijuana for $8,000. DiNardo told authorities that he picked Patrick up at his home and drove to his home.
After they arrived and tried to make the deal, DiNardo found out that Patrick only had $800, $7,200 less than had been agreed upon. Despite the amount of money, DiNardo said he told Patrick that he would sell him a shotgun for that amount of money.
They walked on the property to a secluded area, where DiNardo handed Patrick the shotgun, he told police. As Patrick held it in his hands, DiNardo said that he pulled a .22 caliber rifle and fatally shot him, the probable cause affidavit said.
The DiNardo family business is in construction, so a backhoe was readily available for use. When he got it, he dug a grave that measured about 6-feet deep and buried his dead body inside of it late in the evening July 6.
DiNardo said that the next day, he tried to sell Finocchiaro marijuana for $700. Before doing so, he picked up Kratz from his home in Northeast Philadelphia with the intent on robbing Finocchiaro.
Along with DiNardo and Kratz was a Smith and Wesson .357 handgun that belonged to DiNardo’s mother, Sandra.
After picking up Finocciaro from his house, DiNardo told investigators that they went to his home and drove on an ATV to a secluded barn, where DiNardo said Kratz shot him in the head. He said that he grabbed the gun from Kratz and shot Finocciaro again while he was laying on the ground. The pair wrapped his body in a tarp and lifted it with the backhoe and placed it inside a large metal tank, believed to be a “pig roaster.”
In a statement to police, Kratz said it was DiNardo that shot Finocchiaro, not him.
Later that same day, DiNardo met Meo and Sturgis, who were driving Meo’s 1996 Nissan Maxima, nearby DiNardo’s home in a church parking lot with the intent selling him marijuana.
Meo and Sturgis followed DiNardo back to his home and parked the Maxima on the property. They rode with DiNardo in his truck to an undisclosed location on the property, the same place Kratz was waiting. DiNardo told authorities that as the men exited the truck, he used the handgun to shoot Meo in the back and then Sturgis as he tried to run away. Because he ran out of ammunition, DiNardo said he ran over Meo’s body with the backhoe, he told police. He then used the backhoe to lift the two bodies into a tank.
DiNardo then used the backhoe to lift Meo and Sturgis’ dead bodies into the same pig roaster, where Finocchiaro’s body was already located.
DiNardo said he poured gasoline into the pig roaster, lit it and left the farm.
The next day in the afternoon, DiNardo and Kratz went back to the metal tank and used the backhoe to dig a hole — about 12 1/2 feet deep — with the intent of burying the tank.
3. DiNardo Was Arrested for Stealing & Trying to Sell Meo’s Vehicle
On July 10, DiNardo was arrested by police on a weapons charge. Prosecutors in Bucks County had previously asked the Bensalem Police Department to arrest Cosmo for the charge, which had been dismissed, but didn’t until then.
The Morning Call reported that DiNardo’s gun charge was in relation to a violation of mental health laws.
According to the report, Cosmo was in possession of a Savage Arms 20 gauge shotgun and ammunition. Pennsylvania law says that Cosmo wasn’t allowed to be in possession of a gun because he was once committed into a mental health hospital.
Police acted on the weapons charge and arrested Cosmo on July 10 and he was held on $1 million bail. However, he was released from jail after his father Antonio posted 10 percent of the bail in cash. But less than 24 hours later, Cosmo found himself behind bars yet again, this time on a different charge relating to Meo.
Cosmo was charged with stealing a car that belonged to Meo, and he was held on $5 million bail. According to police, data from a mobile license plate reader showed that a truck that belonged to Antonio passed a road sometime before 8 p.m. on July 7, about one mile away from the DiNardo property. A short time after that, Meo’s car followed.
On July 9, a 1996 Nissan Maxima belonging to Meo was found at a separate property that belonged to the DiNardos, this one on Aquetong Road, about two miles away from where another vehicle belonging to one of the missing men — Mark Sturgis — was located.
Meo, a diabetic, had to have his life-saving medication with him at all times. When the vehicle was located, it was found with his insulin kit and glucose meter with it, Weitraub said at a press conference. Meo’s keys were hanging on a wall inside the DiNardo family home.
If Meo were to go without the medication, “he would be at risk of going into diabetic shock,” NBC Philadelphia reported.
According to Weintraub, DiNardo tried to sell Meo’s vehicle to a friend for $500 shortly after he went missing.
4. A Neighbor Heard Gunshots the Night the Men Went Missing
A man who lived close to the property where the human remains were found gave authorities surveillance footage and said he heard gunshots on the property July 7, the night the men went missing.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he didn’t report the gunshots when he heard them “because it was not unusual to hear gunfire coming from the property.”
Susan Coleman, a woman who also lives near the farm, claimed that she heard gunshots on the property July 8. She said to NBC Philadelphia that she was sitting outside with her husband when she heard gunfire, but didn’t think much of it because of hunters in the area.
Eventually, Coleman came forward to authorities after hearing gunshots and yelling and commotion, she told the news outlet.
5. A Friend DiNardo Spoke of Killing Often
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of DiNardo’s friends, Eric Beitz of Bensalem, said that DiNardo would talk about “routinely” selling firearms and often talked about “killing people.” Beitz told authorities that his friend seemed to have “ulterior motives.”
“I can tell you on multiple different occasions, on multiple different accounts, from multiple different people, including myself –- Cosmo has spoken about weird things like killing people and having people killed,” Beitz said to the newspaper. “Everybody you talk to about this guy, you hear he’s mentally unstable.”
According to Sturgis’ father, Mark Potash, his son and Meo were “longtime friends who work in construction for him,” he told NBC Philadelphia. Finocchiaro is a mutual friend of theirs, he said to the news outlet.
Patrick was the first one of the men to be reported missing. He didn’t show up for work and hadn’t contacted family and friends. Finocchiaro was last seen July 7 getting into a vehicle while Sturgis was last seem at his home July 7 and told his father he was going to meet Meo.
A criminal complaint said that Meo was reported missing July 8 by his mother, and his girlfriend said that she last texted him one day prior and hadn’t heard from him.