A Pennsylvania man confessed to authorities Thursday that he killed four young men who went missing last week, his attorney said.
The confession by Cosmo DiNardo, 20, came a day after authorities found human remains buried 12½ feet deep on a farm owned by his parents.
“He confessed to his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men,” his attorney, Paul Lang, said in a televised news conference outside a courthouse in Bucks County in eastern Pennsylvania.
“In exchange for that confession, Mr. Di Nardo was promised by the district attorney that he will spare his life by not invoking the death penalty.”
Human remains were discovered Wednesday after search crews worked through sweltering heat and into the night to excavate a grave.
Cadaver dogs had led authorities to the burial place.
“I don’t understand the science behind it, but those dogs could smell these poor boys 12.5 feet below the ground,” Bucks County Dist. Atty. Matt Weintraub said at a news conference early Thursday, before DiNardo’s confession.
Only one body recovered from the grave has been identified, that of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro. Authorities have yet to say how many other bodies were recovered.
Finocchiaro was one of four young men who went missing in eastern Pennsylvania a week ago. Finocchiaro and the others — Jimi Patrick, 19; Tom Meo, 21; Mark Sturgis, 22 — all vanished within a few days of each other.
Investigators said it appears some of the men knew each other.
The discovery on the sprawling Bucks County farm Wednesday came five days after an intensive investigation on the property involving at least five municipal police departments, state police and the FBI.
“As is often the case in an investigation of this magnitude, it is all hands on deck,” Weintraub said at a news briefing earlier in the week.
The property belongs to Antonio and Sandra DiNardo. Earlier Thursday, their son had been named as a person of interest in the investigation.
Hours before officials announced that human remains of one of the missing men were discovered, police arrested DiNardo on suspicion of stealing the car belonging to Meo.
Meo, who is a diabetic, went missing on July 7. Two days later, DiNardo attempted to the sell the vehicle to a friend for $500, Weintraub said. Officials found Meo’s 1996 Nissan Maxima at 4 a.m. Sunday near property belonging to the DiNardo family.
Police said they found Meo’s diabetic kit inside the vehicle. His family told officials he never traveled without his diabetes medicine and that it’s not likely he could survive without it if he were to go into diabetic shock.
DiNardo was first arrested Monday and held on $1-million bail on an unrelated gun charge stemming from an incident in February, when he was caught with a shotgun and ammunition, which he was not authorized to possess because of mental health issues, officials said. His father paid $100,000 to bail him out the next day.
The first of the young men to vanish was Patrick of Newtown Township. He was last seen July 5. Finocchiaro, Meo and Sturgis were all reported missing two days later.
Patrick’s grandparents said he had recently finished his first year at Loyola University in Maryland, where he was studying business. He was accepted on a full scholarship. The families of the four missing men have kept a vigil outside the farm in Solebury, a community on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey state line.
3:50 p.m.: This article was updated to report that attorney Paul Lang said Cosmo DiNardo confessed to killing the four missing men.
3:10 p.m.: This article was updated with additional quotes from Bucks County Dist. Atty. Matt Weintraub and details on the investigation.
This article was originally published at 10:05 p.m. on July 12.