A man named a person of interest in the disappearance of four missing men in Pennsylvania was re-arrested Wednesday and charged with the theft of a vehicle belonging to one of the men, as police said they have recovered “important” evidence during a methodical search of a farm.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at an afternoon news conference Cosmo DiNardo, has been charged with theft of a vehicle belonging to one of the missing men, 21-year-old Thomas Meo of Plumstead. Meo was last seen on July 7, and reported missing by his family July 8.
DiNardo was taken back into custody less than 24-hours after posting bail on an unrelated gun charge. Bail has been set at $5 million.
Weintraub said DiNardo attemped to sell Meo’s vehicle for $500 to a friend on July 9. The vehicle, a 1996 Nissan Maxima, was later found at a farmland property belonging to DiNardo’s family in Solebury Township, located about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
Meo is a diabetic, according to Weintraub, and “never went anywhere” without his diabetes kit with him. The kit was found inside the vehicle on the farmland property, according to Weintraub.
“It is my understanding that he could not survive without that medication, that he could go into diabetic shock,” Weintraub told reporters.
The stolen vehicle charge could be “enveloped in a larger set of circumstances,” according to the district attorney, who added the case is “still unfolding.”
DiNardo said the search at the farmland property is “intensifying,” adding he has “no doubt” authorities will “find something for sure.”
Earlier in the day, police said they recovered “important” evidence but no human remains at 90-acre property owned by DiNardo’s family, who is in the construction and concrete businesses.
The owners of the property where authorities have centered their search said they are cooperating with the investigation.
An attorney representing Antonio and Sandra DiNardo issued a statement Wednesday saying the couple sympathizes with the relatives of the missing men.
At least some of the missing men are friends, but it’s unclear how well they knew the property owner’s son, Cosmo DiNardo, if at all. DiNardo was originally released Tuesday evening to his parents’ home in Bensalem while FBI agents sifted through mounds of dirt from a deep pit they dug on the farm about 20 miles away, and police cadets combed the vast cornfields nearby.
“We have recovered several important pieces of evidence at this site, and at other locations,” Weintraub said Wednesday as the search resumed for a fourth day. “This is just really, really rough on everybody involved because of the heat, the magnitude, the scope — and the stakes are incredibly high, life and death.”
The missing men are 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick. Patrick was last seen last Wednesday, while the other three were last seen Friday. Family members have said Sturgis and Meo worked together, while Finocchiaro was a mutual friend.
Weintraub has described DiNardo as a person of interest in the case. He was arrested Monday on a charge that had earlier been dismissed, accused of possessing a shotgun despite a previous mental health commitment.
Weintraub sought the high bail for DiNardo on the gun charge because he now considers him a flight risk. The father, Antonio DiNardo, posted $100,000 Tuesday to bring his son home on the initial arrest.
Earlier Wednesday, Weintraub refused to respond to media reports that grand jury subpoenas have been served as part of the investigation.
“I am prohibited by law from even telling you that there is a grand jury impaneled here in Bucks County,” he said. “But I want to assure the public that we are utilizing every resource at our disposal to try to find these four missing men and to solve this case.”
The families of the missing men continue to maintain a vigil on the perimeter of the farmland property.
“We are going to keep searching that property until we are satisfied that they are not there,” Weintraub said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.