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"Person of Interest" Confirmed in Solebury Missing Persons Probe

July 11, 2017
Contact: Larry R. King, 215.348.6298, lrking@buckscounty.org

Cosmo DiNardo
      Cosmo Dinardo

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub today identified a 20-year-old Bensalem man as a "person of interest" in the investigation into four young area men missing since last week.

Cosmo Dinardo, whose parents own a vast Solebury Township property in the 6100 block of Lower York Road that has been the main focus of the investigation, was released on bail this evening after spending one night in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

Dinardo had been arrested Monday at his home in Bensalem on an unrelated felony firearms charge. Weintraub stressed that the charge pertains to an alleged violation dating to February, and that Dinardo has not been accused at this point of any role in the recent disappearances.

“I want to make it very, very clear that Mr. Dinardo has been arrested on charges that do not relate or pertain to this case," Weintraub told reporters from regional and national media organizations at a briefing near the Dinardos' property. "Mr. Dinardo is a person of interest in this case, but sometimes the chasm between being a person of interest and being a person who is accused, arrested and convicted of a crime is so wide that we never cross it."

Still missing are Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County; Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown Township, and Tom Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township. Patrick has been missing since Wednesday, the others since Friday.

Investigators from federal, state and local police agencies continued to comb the Dinardo property today for evidence, Weintraub said, supplemented by at least 40 police academy cadets from Montgomery County who are helping to search the sprawling rural expanse for evidence. Detectives elsewhere are conducting interviews to establish the extent of any relationships between the missing men, as well as any links between them and Dinardo.

Family members continued to keep a vigil today at the edge of the search site. 

“We have not recovered any human remains to this point, but we continue to work very, very hard on establishing all sorts of investigative leads and confirming those," Weintraub said, adding that he is convinced the Solebury property is a crime scene because of "information that I know that I cannot share with you."

The property, Weintraub added, "is 90-some acres, and we are going through it with the equivalent of a fine-tooth comb. It is going to take us a very long time to get through it."

Weintraub praised the media for keeping the case in the public eye, which has resulted in a number of tips. But he said media reports late Monday that bodies had been found are "simply not accurate" and devastating to the families of the missing.

"We have four families literally keeping a vigil at the scene of our investigation. They see and hear and read the news just like we all do. When they see something like that it’s incredibly upsetting," Weintraub said. 

"I think it’s very important to hang onto hope until there is no more room for it.”

Cosmo Dinardo faces one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a second-degree felony, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing July 18 before Magisterial District Judge Michael W. Gallagher in Bensalem. According to a probable cause affidavit, Dinardo has a history of mental illness that includes having been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, making him unable to legally possess a firearm in Pennsylvania. The documents allege that Bensalem police found him with a shotgun in February. 

The charge initially was dismissed by a magisterial district judge, but the District Attorney's Office requested last month that police re-file the charges. The authorization to re-file came long before the four young men went missing, and thus before Dinardo became a person of interest in their disappearances.

Dinardo was charged Monday and ordered held on $1 million bail, 10 percent cash. He was released after his father, Antonio Dinardo, posted $100,000 early Tuesday evening.

The high bail amount, Weintraub said, "was at our urging, because he is a person of interest. If somebody is charged and they become a person of interest, it is fair to say to a judge that he becomes a greater flight risk."

Weintraub said the investigation involves multiple municipal police departments, detectives from Bucks and Montgomery Counties, the Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and the U.S. Marshal's Service. The state Attorney General's Office has also offered assistance, he said.

"We have people combing the entire county working on this case and the amount of manpower that we’ve deployed just at this property is mind-boggling," Weiintraub said. "But that’s what it’s going to take. We’re committed to seeing this through to the end, regardless of what it’s going to take.”  

He urged anyone who has information that could be helpful to the investigation to call 215-297-8201, or to click the "Submit a Tip" tab on this page. Persons leaving tips on Crimewatch may do so anonymously if they so choose.

Weintraub said he plans to continue giving twice-a-day media updates. The next briefing is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Solebury.

Approved for release by Matthew D. Weintraub, District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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