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Real Estate Heir Is at Center of Pa. Missing Men Mystery


Their 68-acre farm about four miles outside New Hope in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, cost a cool $5.4 million in September 2005. But Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, whose fortune stems from trucking and concrete, weren’t done adding to their estate. Less than a year later, the couple bought an adjacent property with a farmhouse built in 1821, according to county property records.

In December 2008, they bought another couple of adjacent acres for $500,000 to complete a massive property along Lower York Road, which has become the center of a search for four missing young men and garnered national attention with the DiNardos' son named a person of interest in the case. 

Dozens of local police and FBI agents scoured the family's farm for two days, using backhoes and other earth-moving equipment in what the county district attorney on Wednesday called the county's biggest search in recent history.

Cosmo DiNardo, 20, the son of Antonio and Sandra, was ordered held on $5 million cash bail for allegedly being in possession of a car belonging to one of the missing men. The new arrest on Wednesday came a day after his family posted $100,000 bond to free the young man after he was initially held on gun charges while District Attorney Matt Weintraub described him as a person of interest in the confounding case.

According to an affidavit obtained by NBC10, DiNardo was accused of possessing a 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition in February despite being barred from owning a firearm due to a history of mental illness that included an involuntary commitment. A district judge dismissed the charge in May, but the district attorney had authorized for it to be refiled on Monday. 

Prosecutors said at his arraignment on Wednesday that DiNardo was dangerous, though his lawyers argued that he was being shamed for struggles with mental-health, Philly.com reported

DiNiardo's attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., had no comment to reporters as he arrived at court on Thursday morning.

Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County, 21-year-old Thomas Meo, of Plumstead Township; Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown Township and Jimi Tar Patrick, 21, of Newtown Township all vanished last week. Weintraub said the four and DiNardo all apparently knew each other.

Officials later announced early Thursday that cadaver dogs found human remains on the DiNardo family's Lower York Road farm and one set of the remains was identified as that of Finocchiaro.

"I don't understand the science behind it, but those dogs could smell these poor boys 12-and-a-half-feet below the ground," Weintraub said during a midnight press conference.

How exactly Cosmo DiNardo came to be the focus of the investigation and why his parents’ farm was in law enforcement’s cross hairs remained shrouded in mystery.

What is known is that the young man comes from a family that has built a fortune on real estate in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks counties. His grandfather, also named Cosmo DiNardo, owned several properties, with property records dating back to the 1970s showing a mix of residential and commercial rental properties.

The diverse holdings include a property leased to a behavioral health non-profit on Adams Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia that brings in as much as $32,000 a month, and a multi-unit apartment house on West Avenue in Jenkintown.

The elder Cosmo DiNardo died in 1997 at the age of 55. He lived with his wife on Mayfield Avenue in Elkins Park since 1974. It’s not clear how he got his start — or the initial capital required — to begin buying real estate.

But his next purchase was the house on Wayland Circle in Bensalem where his grandson was twice arrested this week. Antonio and Sandra DiNardo continue to use that suburban home as the base for their real estate and business holdings.

Between 1979 and 1989, Cosmo DiNardo bought three commercial properties and the Jenkintown apartment house.

The first purchase was a strip of storefronts at 1016 Cottman Avenue for $67,500 in 1979, which was sold in 2004 by his son Antonio for $425,000.

The next was 3159 Summerdale Avenue, bought for an unknown amount in 1981.

A third commercial property, bought in 1986 for $95,000, is 10 Shady Lane in Rockledge, Montgomery County. It’s currently rented to a dentist.

As his son came of age, Cosmo and Antonio DiNardo shared one real estate deal before Antonio eventually took over. The elder Cosmo and Antonio DiNardo purchased a Philadelphia house on Longmead Lane for $50,000 in early 1989 and flipped it two years later for $210,000.

In the late 1990s and 2000s, Antonio DiNardo purchased four more properties, two in Philadelphia and two in Bensalem. In 1998, DiNardo bought 4455-65 Castor Avenue for $94,000. It is home to the family concrete business called Metro Ready Mix and Supply.

The other property on Adams Avenue, purchased for $140,000 in 2001, is leased through 2032, according to property records, to a health care non-profit called The Bridge.

One of the Bensalem properties, 3636-3649 Hulmeville Road, which was bought in 2004 for $450,000, is home to the family’s other business, Bella Trucking.

By later that year, the DiNardos began collecting the farmland outside New Hope that would become the scene for the evolving mystery surrounding four missing men and a son who now sits inside Bucks County Jail.

As investigators converged on the family's estate, the DiNardos have remained tight-lipped. 

But the family's attorney, Perri Jr. released a statement Wednesday on behalf of Antonio and Sandra DiNardo expressing sympathy for the families of the missing and asserting their cooperation in the investigation. 

"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 lawyer wrote hours before the discovery of human remains on their property.

Photo Credit: Provided
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Berlin's First 'Liberal Mosque' Fights Extremism, Threats


At the new Ibn-Rushd-Goethe mosque inside a Protestant church in Berlin, 20 to 30 liberal followers regularly practice what they call "modern Islam," NBC News reported. 

Gay and lesbian Muslims are welcome, along with all schools of the religion. Women can participate without covering themselves with a hijab, burqa or niqab, and they can pray side-by-side with men.

Human rights lawyer Seyran Ates founded the mosque as a "place for all those people who do not meet the rules and regulations of conservative Muslims," where the Quran is read in a "critical historic context," she said.

While Ibn-Rushd-Goethe has drawn strong criticism from leaders in Turkey and Egypt as well as death threats to Ates, she said that the mosque — including its several refugee followers — sends a signal in the fight against Islamic terror.

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Charlie Gard's Parents Storm Out of Treatment Hearing


Parents seeking to take their extremely sick baby to the United States for an experimental treatment stormed out of a British court hearing Thursday, the latest turn in a saga that's garnered worldwide attention, NBC News reported.

Baby Charlie Gard is unable to move his limbs unaided due to a rare genetic condition, and his parents' fundraising and pleas for help have been highlighted by President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

The hospital treating Charlie decided that the therapy would only cause more suffering, and that he should be taken off life support — a position that courts have so far agreed with. A judge allowed new evidence to be presented in the case Thursday.

But as the couple left the courtroom after two hours, Charlie's father said, "I thought this was supposed to be independent," according to NBC News' U.K. partner, ITV News.

Photo Credit: Family of Charlie Gard via AP
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Feds Charge Norwalk Doctors Accused of Running 'Pill Mill'


One Norwalk doctor has been arrested and federal officials are searching for another in connection with an investigation that authorities are calling the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force in the country.

Dr. Bharat Patel, 70, of Milford, and 47-year-old Dr. Ramil Mansourov, of Darien, are accused of running a “pill mill” and selling prescriptions for drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to addicts and drug dealers, who would then sell the drugs on the streets.

In all, 412 defendants have been charged across the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings.

Patel was arrested at his Milford home Wednesday, has been detained and is scheduled to appear in court on July 17.

Federal authorities are searching for Mansourov, of Darien, who they believe fled to Canada.

The local investigation began after allegations that the two doctors might be writing prescriptions outside the scope of legitimate medical practice.

Patel and Mansourov operated out of Family Health Urgent Care, at 235 Main Street in Norwalk, which is closed until further notice.

Some of those addicts they are accused of selling to referred to the defendants’ medical practice as “The Candy Shop,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Patel owned the previous practice, which was known as Immediate Health Care, and sold it in 2012 to Mansourov, who renamed it, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Patel regularly provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients he knew were addicted or had been arrested for distributing or possessing controlled substances.

On several occasions, he sold the prescriptions to patients under the table for $100, including to some who used a state Medicaid card, then distributed the drugs, officials said.

In some instances, Patel wrote prescriptions for people who were not his patients in exchange for cash, federal officials said, and Mansourov provided Patel’s patients with unnecessary prescriptions.

In 2014 alone, more than $50,000 in cash was deposited into Patel and his wife’s bank accounts and some of that money went to buy the house Patel currently lives in, according to federal authorities.

These two doctors are charged with violating their oaths and recklessly prescribing highly addictive painkillers,” U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly said in a statement. “Dr. Patel is alleged to have regularly sold to addicts solely for his own profit. Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state healthcare benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, contributing to our devastating opioid epidemic.”

Mansourov is accused of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of more than $4 million between November 2013 and December 2016 and moving some of that money to a bank account in Switzerland.

He is accused of billing for home visits he never made, billing for nursing home visits he never made, billing for office visits that never happened and billing for visits that he claimed took place on dates on which he was actually out of state or out of the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement about the nationwide crackdown.

“Amazingly, some have made their practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start. The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost, and graveyards. While today is a historic day, the Department's work is not finished. In fact, it is just beginning. We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate fraudsters and drug dealers wherever they are,” Sessions added. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and the U.S. Department of Justice

40 Years Later: A Look Back at the NYC Blackout of 1977


Forty years ago, lightning cut power to almost all of the city. For two days, New Yorkers were in the dark. The Son of Sam killer was still out there. There was looting. And vandalism. And there were heroes. Here's a look back at the dramatic scenes.

Photo Credit: AP

Pickup Crashes Into House in Moosup


The driver of a pickup crashed into a house in Moosup early Thursday morning after running a stop sign, according to police.

The crash happened at Squaw Rock Road and High Street, in the Moosup section of Plainfield, around 12:32 a.m., according to police.

Officers at the scene determined that the 45-year-old woman driving the 2006 Ford F350 on High Street did not stop at a stop sign, went off the road and hit a parked vehicle and a residence on Squaw Rock Road, police said.

The driver and two passengers, a 51-year-old man and a 45-year-old man, were transported to Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam for possible injuries.

A building inspector was called to the scene to ensure the residence was safe and the vehicle was removed from the scene.

Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications @QVEC911

Man Accused of Damage on Laurel Beach Property Arrested


Police have arrested a Milford man who is accused of causing thousands of dollars in damage to Laurel Beach Association Property in May and driving at the bicyclist who was trying to stop him. 

William Varnum, 23, of Milford, is accused of doing “donuts” in his Nissan pickup on Court Street around 7 p.m. on May 21, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. 

When a resident of the area rode his bicycle onto the property to stop the damage, the driver drove toward him, causing him to fall off the bicycle, then ran the bicycle over, police said. 

Police said witnesses were able to get a possible license plate of 907 or 908 with CV and authorities took Varnum into custody on Wednesday and has been charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree criminal mischief and evading responsibility. 

Varnum was released on a promise to appear and is due back in in in Milford Court on Aug. 8. 

Photo Credit: MIlford Police

Southington Committee Tries to Save Middle School Sports


Some in Southington are still not ready to quit on middle school sports.

The athletics were cut this year following a $1 million reduction to the Board of Education’s budget. Some parents and board members have been fighting to bring them back ever since.

On Wednesday night, the Southington Middle School Activities Committee, a sub-committee of the Board of Education, met to discuss ways to revive middle school sports.

“To lose this [middle school sports], I don't know what I would do with my time,” said Matthew Morgan, an athlete and seventh grader at John F. Kennedy Middle School.

For the committee comprised of two Board of Education members and parent volunteers, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

“It's a lot to do,” said committee co-chair & board member, Zaya Oshana. “The school year starts in a couple of months.”

There are still a lot of questions the committee needs to answer and a lot of ideas to consider, but co-chair, Patricia Queen is confident they can achieve something by the start of the school year.

“People pull together when they want to get something done. There is a lot of energy here, intelligence, a lot creativity,” Queen said.

Both Queen and Oshana acknowledge they need to start small with the hopes middle school sports and other activities will make a full return in the future.

“People need to understand it is probably not going to be what they expect,” Oshana said. “It’s not going to be the same as it was last year, but we are trying to get something started so we don't have a gap in the program.”

The committee is open to any ideas from the public. They plan to meet again Wednesday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m. The location is to be determined.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Keep Your Cool This Summer: Safety Tips For the Heat


With temperatures in some parts of the country soaring as high as 120 degrees this summer, combating the heat is no easy task. Last year, 94 people suffered from heat related deaths, more than double the number from 2015, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Here are tips from the National Weather Service you can use to help keep cool and stay safe during this summer.

Track the Heat
If you’ve been outside for long enough it can be hard to tell how hot is too hot to be outdoors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have created a mobile app that calculates the heat risk index of any given location.

What to Know About Fans
During times of extreme heat risk, limit the time you spend outside as much as possible. If you can’t get access to air conditioning, fans can help. But try not to point the fan directly at you because the dry air can make you become dehydrated faster, according to the National Weather Service.

Reapply Sunscreen
If you must go outside, stay in the shade and apply sunscreen at least every two hours. Reapply immediately after swimming. 

Warmer Water Is Better Than Icy
Make sure to drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty. Excessive sweating will cause you to lose fluids at a rapid pace. Although ice water may feel refreshing, opt for room temperature fluids. When water is especially cold your body will exert more energy trying to adjust to the temperature.

Watch Out for Seatbelts
The inside of a car can be one of the most deadly places during a heat wave. Before you buckle up, check the metal on the seatbelt to avoid burns. Never leave a child or animal unattended in a vehicle even if you have the window rolled down. To ensure your children don’t accidentally trap themselves inside, keep the doors and trunk locked at all times.

Know The Signs
It can be easy to confuse heat stroke and heat exhaustion, so knowing what to look for is crucial. Heat stroke is more serious and common symptoms include a throbbing headache, no sweating, red, hot, or dry skin, nausea and vomiting. If you or someone around you exhibits any combination of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Check out more hot weather resources here

Photo Credit: AP
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Trump Defends Son's Meeting With Russian Lawyer


President Donald Trump defended his son's decision to visit a Russian attorney who claimed to hold discriminating information, calling it "very standard" and claiming that "most people would've taken that meeting." Trump also claims that very little happened during the meeting. 

Willington Man Charged With Manslaughter After Overdose Death


State police have charged a Willington man with manslaughter in connection with an overdose death. 

Kevin Roy, 50, was found dead in a home on Nov 13 and his wife told police Roy had been drinking and took some methadone before he died. 

Police said William Kachuk Jr., 36, of Willington, gave Kevin Roy the methadone and a warrant for his arrest was issued in March after he failed to show up for an interview with state police. 

Kachuk has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, first-degree reckless endangerment and illegal sale of a controlled substance. 

He was held on $650,000.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Mom Charged with Abandoning Newborn Behind Grocery Store


A woman accused of abandoning a newborn baby behind a grocery store in Danbury in May has turned herself in to police. 

Danbury police said Anny Castillo, 22, turned herself in around 1:40 p.m. Thursday.

Castillo is accused of leaving her newborn baby boy behind the Zaytuna Grocery Store, at 397 Main St., on May 21. The child was found wrapped in woman's clothing and was taken to Danbury Hospital for treatment. At that time police put out a call asking the public to help identify the child’s mother, and Castillo came forward. 

The child was said to be in good health and was turned over to the Department of Children and Families for placement.

Castillo was charged with abandonment of a child under six years, risk of injury, and cruelty to persons. She was released on a $1,500 bond and is due in Danbury Superior Court on Friday.

Connecticut has had a Safe Haven law in effect since 2000, which allows a parent to bring an infant 30 days or younger to a hospital emergency room and avoid prosecution for abandonment. For more information, visit the state’s website. 

Photo Credit: Danbury Police Department

Pa. DA in Missing Men Investigation Praised for Being Thorough


Matt Weintraub was an intern in the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office in the early 1990s, before moving up through the ranks in other offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

Now, as law enforcement officials investigate an apparent quadruple homicide in the bucolic suburbs of Philadelphia, Weintraub is back in Bucks, and he’s a long way from his internship. He has risen all the way to district attorney, and those who know him say he is the right person to handle the high-profile case.

“Matt will not leave any stone unturned. He’s very, very thorough,” said Brian Hessenthaler, the chief operating officer of Bucks County. “He doesn’t back down from a challenge. And he’s got one right now.” 

Bucks County prosecutors have led the investigation into the disappearance of four young men, which became a homicide investigation Thursday as 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo confessed to his participation in the murders of all four men. DiNardo agreed to plead guilty to four murder counts, attorney Paul Lang said. 

The FBI and other local police departments have been assisting in the investigation.

Police uncovered the remains of one of the young men, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, in a “common grave” on a farm Wednesday, authorities said. Weintraub said other remains were found in the same unmarked grave. 

“This is a homicide, make no mistake about it. We just don’t know how many homicides,” Weintraub announced at a midnight news conference on Thursday.

"We're going to remain strong. We're going to see this investigation to the end and we're going to bring each and every one of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another," he added. "And we will not rest until we do that."

Police arrested DiNardo Wednesday for attempting to sell a car owned by one of the missing men. DiNardo also lives on the property where the remains were found.

Questions remain: Will Bucks County prosecutors bring homicide charges soon? Will they get a conviction? 

Weintraub did not immediately respond for a request for comment. But colleagues who have worked with Weintraub throughout his career are confident he is up to the task. He’s a humble man of conviction with a thorough work ethic, former and current colleagues told NBC. He’s also a seasoned and aggressive prosecutor who was appointed as Bucks County district attorney because of his experience.

After working as an intern in the Bucks office, he went on to work in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, and Cape May, New Jersey, until he was essentially summoned back to Bucks County for the district attorney job in 2016 by his predecessor, David Heckler.

When he announced his mid-term retirement, Heckler told NBC he handpicked Weintraub to succeed him “to the extent that I could.” The district attorney appointment had to be approved by county judges, who ultimately saw in Weintraub what Heckler did.

“To me, nature or something picked him,” Heckler told NBC. “I saw most of the senior people in the DA’s office when I was a trial judge. He was just clearly the pick of the litter.”

“He was aggressive,” Heckler said. “He knew what he was in the courtroom for and he got the job done.”

When he took the job, his former colleague Michelle Henry agreed.

“He is a top-notch prosecutor in every sense of the word," Henry told Philly.com at the time.

Weintraub is up for election this fall for the first time in Bucks County. Even with an unpopular president of the same party, Heckler seemed confident Weintraub’s personal and professional credentials will carry him to victory.

But first there’s the possible quadruple homicide to put to bed. Weintraub’s press conferences about the case are now beamed through TV and computer screens nationwide.

“We’re going to start looking seriously at those homicide charges,” Weintraub said at one of those press conferences Wednesday night. “In fact, we already have.”

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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Person Struck by Lightning in North Stonington


A man was likely struck by lightning in North Stonington on Thursday afternoon.

The victim was standing in a cattle barn and leaning on a metal separator at the North Stonington Fairgrounds when there was a huge crack of thunder, according to the fire marshal, George Brennan.

The man collapsed and was knocked unconscious.  He gained consciousness relatively quickly, Brennan said.

The electrical system in the cattle barn was not damaged and it appears the man was struck by lightning, Brennan said.

Emergency crews took the man to Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island to be treated.  The extent of his injuries were not known, according to Brennan.

The North Stonington Agricultural Fair was canceled Thursday night due to the weather forecast.  Brennan said the cancellation of the fair was not due to the lightning incident, but was rather due to the conditions of the fairgrounds after the rain.  It will resume on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Major Health Care Changes in the Senate GOP Bill


Senate Republican leaders released a new version of their health care bill on Thursday and they hope to vote on it as soon as next week. Here’s what you need to know about how it would affect your health care:

Premiums and deductibles: Like Obamacare, the Senate bill provides subsidies to buy insurance on the individual market based on a person’s income. But they’re less generous overall and encourage people to buy plans that cover fewer out-of-pocket costs.

Pre-existing conditions: The Senate bill would weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and push sicker customers toward more expensive plans and healthier customers toward cheaper, less generous plans.

Medicaid: The Senate bill would reduce Medicaid spending dramatically compared to current law.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Swimming Area at Rocky Neck Closed Due to Bacteria Levels


The swimming area in Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme is closed due to high bacteria levels in the water, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The bacteria does not necessarily cause disease, but it is used as an indicator to test for possible contamination in bodies of water. DEEP routinely tests all state swimming areas.

DEEP will retest the water on Monday to see if the bacteria drops back to a safe level.

Other areas of the park, including picnic and hiking areas, remain open to the public.

Last week the swimming areas at Gardner Lake State Park in Salem and Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield were closed due to high levels of bacteria. Those areas were retested Thursday and the results will be available Friday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Jailed Man Admits Involvement in Killings of 4 Men


Cosmo DiNardo admitted in a "full confession" Thursday afternoon to participation in the murders of four men who disappeared in early July, according to one of his attorneys.

The confession is part of a deal to avoid the death penalty, attorney Paul Lang told reporters outside the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown.

Moments later, the 20-year-old was seen being escorted to a sheriff's van in an orange prison jumpsuit and shackled.

"I'm sorry," he said before being driven away.

The sudden announcement came a day after cadaver dogs helped lead investigators to a patch of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, farmland where the remains of one of the missing young men were buried deep underground.

The other three men's bodies had not yet been found at the time of the confession, though investigators had said other human remains were found in a 12-1/2 foot deep "common grave" on the vast 90-acre Solebury Township farm.

A source has told NBC10 that remains identified as two of the other men have been identified and that DiNardo gave searchers location details needed to recover the fourth missing man.

Lang deferred all questions about the murders to District Attorney Matt Weintraub, who was not immediately available for comment.

"He admitted to the participation in the commission of four murders," Lang said. "In favor of that, the Commonwealth will not be seeking the death penalty. So Cosmo was spared life for in terms of giving all of his relevant information he could."

DiNardo has been held since Wednesday on $5 million bail for allegedly trying to sell a car belonging to one of the missing men.

The discovery at the farmstead estate in the rolling, lush hills above New Hope marked a grim turn in the intense search for four men who disappeared late last week.

Weintraub said in a midnight press conference Thursday that the remains of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, of Middletown Township, were positively identified.

"A hole that's getting deeper by the minute," Weintraub said of the digging.

Finocchiaro's death was immediately ruled a homicide, though Weintraub did not reveal an exact cause.

"This is a homicide, make no mistake about it," Weintraub said. "We just don't know how many homicides. We are yet to know the answer to that question."

Finocchiaro, along with 22-year-old Mark Sturgis of Pennsburg, Montgomery County; 21-year-old Tom Meo of Plumstead Township; and 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick of Newtown Township, vanished last week.

Meo's grandfather, Chuck Meo, told an NBC News producer that crews found the remains under a blue tarp after lifting a propane tank out.

The sprawling property, which is bordered by three roads, is about three miles west of the trendy borough on the Delaware River, in a secluded part of the county where hidden mansions are marked by names like Idlewild and Mountaintop.

The property consists of three separate parcels that Cosmo DiNardo's parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, of Bensalem, purchased between 2005 and 2008 for a combined nearly $6.5 million.

Cosmo DiNardo was named a person of interest in the case on Tuesday. 

DiNardo was arrested Wednesday after investigators determined he tried to sell Meo's 1996 Nissan Maxima to a friend after his disappearance. He has not been charged, however, in Finocchiaro's death. DiNardo is being held in the Bucks County jail on $5 million cash bail.

DiNardo was also arrested Monday on an unrelated weapons charge but left the Bucks County jail Tuesday night after his father, Antonio DiNardo, posted 10 percent of $1 million bail.

According to an affidavit obtained by NBC10, DiNardo was accused of possessing a 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition in February despite being barred from owning a firearm due to a history of mental illness that included an involuntary commitment. A district judge dismissed the charge in May, but the district attorney authorized for it to be refiled on Monday.

A family lawyer released a statement Wednesday, before the human remains were discovered, on behalf of DiNardo's parents.

"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 family attorney wrote.

High-powered attorney Fortunato Perri Jr., who has represented several local celebrities including Philadelphia hip-hop artist Beanie Sigel, was hired to represent DiNardo in court. Perri had no comment to reporters as he arrived at court Thursday morning with DiNardo's parents. Perri doesn't represent the parents, only Cosmo DiNardo.

DiNardo and the missing men all appeared to know one another, prosecutors said.

According to Sturgis' father, Mark Potash, Sturgis and Meo are longtime friends who work in construction for him. Finocchiaro was a mutual friend of theirs, Potash said. Investigators began looking at DiNardo after they received tips indicating he was seen with the men shortly before they went missing.

Patrick went missing on Wednesday, July 5 and has not contacted family or friends since, police said. Finocchiaro was last seen alive Friday around 6:30 p.m. getting into a vehicle.

According to a newly obtained criminal complaint, Meo's mother reported him missing Saturday. Meo's girlfriend said she last texted him Friday at 6:53 p.m. and didn't hear from him after. Meo is an insulin-dependent diabetic.

Sturgis, who was last seen leaving his home on Walt Road in Pennsburg around 6 p.m. Friday, told his father he was going to meet with Meo in Doylestown.

On Sunday at 2:10 a.m., Sturgis' vehicle was found in the area of Peddler's Village in Buckingham Township about two miles away from a DiNardo estate.

Unlike neighboring estates, the DiNardo property has no name markers at the main entrance on Lower York Road. Only a broken mailbox, with fading numbers, marks the driveway. On the other side of the property, along Aquetong Road, a small and crumbling white house stands near the road.

A marked police cruiser held guard over that location Thursday, idling in front of a decrepit garage several yards from the house. The car of Thomas Meo was found inside the still open structure less than two hours after Sturgis' car.

Detectives say they found Meo's car keys hanging up on the wall of the garage. They also found Meo's diabetic supplies inside the vehicle.

On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Bucks County detectives interviewed DiNardo's friend, whose identity police are withholding. The friend told police DiNardo had called him Saturday at 5 p.m. The two then met on Bristol and Galloway roads in Bensalem where DiNardo allegedly offered to sell Meo's Nissan Maxima to him for $500, the criminal complaint reads.

Police also interviewed DiNardo Sunday. DiNardo allegedly told detectives he was driving a silver Ford pickup truck Friday night.

A Solebury Township police mobile license plate reader data found DiNardo's Ford pickup truck was on 2541 Street Road in Solebury Township Friday at 7:49 p.m. Within a few seconds, the license plate reader also captured Meo's vehicle at the same location.

The location where both vehicles were captured is within two miles away of the DiNardo home and less than one mile away from where Sturgis' vehicle was found.

Based on the information, investigators say they had probable cause that DiNardo did "unlawfully take and retain control" of Meo's vehicle.

Law enforcement members scoured the DiNardo family's Solebury Township farm for several days. Investigators also used heavy equipment to dig on the property and deployed canines to search for clues.

Susan Coleman, a woman who lives near the farm, told NBC10's Deanna Durante that she heard gunshots from around the property on Saturday — hours after Meo and others were last seen.

"We heard a series of blasts, they were loud," Coleman said.

Coleman said she was sitting outside with her husband when she heard the gunfire but at first didn't think much of it since people go hunting in the area. But, she decided to talk to investigators after hearing what sounded like more gunshots then yelling and commotion.

Family members kept vigil Wednesday though some relatives of one of the victims were seen fighting amongst each other in the early evening. 

Weintraub said he notified Finocchiaro's family about the discovery of their son's remains shortly before he made the public announcement.

About 50 students, faculty and staff also gathered at a chapel at Loyola University in Maryland where Patrick was a rising sophomore to pray for him and the three other men. Director of Campus Ministry Sean Bray told the Baltimore Sun the group wanted to honor the request of Patrick's grandmother to "storm heaven with our prayers for Jimi's safe return."

Patrick, who graduated from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, was on the Dean's List at Loyola, his grandparent Sharon and Rich Patrick said in a prepared statement supplied to reporters.

Officials continue to work to identify the other human remains that were found Wednesday night. The investigation is ongoing.

"We're going to remain strong," Weintraub said after announcing Finocchiaro's death. "We're going to see this investigation to the end and we're going to bring each and every one of these lost boys home to their families, one way or another. And we will not rest until we do that."

The FBI set up a new tip line for information, 1-800-225-5324 (1-800-CALLFBI), then hit option 7, or submit a tip online.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

NBC10 journalists Deanna Durante, Denise Nakano, Drew Smith, Dan Stamm and Brandon Hudson contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke/AP
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Newington Graduation Signs Must Come Down: School


Banners boasting of senior accomplishments have become a treasured tradition in Newington. During graduation season, bed sheets with student names can be seen along Willard Avenue. The class of 2017 was no exception.

“I have young kids and they see the banners and they are like ‘Mom, what’s that?’ and I tell them ‘We are celebrating graduation from high school and they are moving on possibly to bigger and better things,’” said Newington resident Tina Bouchard.

The banners are supposed to leave along with the graduating students, yet Thursday morning around two dozen were still hanging from the fences. Newington Public Schools took to Facebook to share frustration over the disregard for the take-down deadline. Their post reads in part:

Dear Class of 2017,

Over the past 13 years we have tried to instill in you a sense of pride and responsibility to your community. Each of you has those skills. Extravaganza is upon us and what the community will see is your name upon a bed sheet that was to be taken down by July 1st.

Extravaganza is a three-day town event that features food vendors, entertainment, fireworks, and many other family-oriented activities. Bouchard says, in their current condition, the signs aren’t something visitors would want to see.

“They kind of fall apart and they are hanging there and it does become an eyesore,” she said.

Newington schools says if the signs don’t come down, they may never be allowed to go back up. Their post continued saying:

"Please don't be the class that pushes the town or the school district to stop this wonderful tradition. You are better than that so get out there and take responsibility for cleaning up what is now your mess.

In response to the school district's post, a group of Newington parents, past and present, say they will be taking down the signs Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Southwest Customer Seeks Refund Policy Flexibility


Sister Georgeann Vumbaco has devoted the past 40 years to serving others, specifically, at St. Joseph School in Meriden.

Her most recent task: Represent Saint Joseph at Compassionate Friends, in Orlando, Fla. It’s a conference designed to help support families who have lost a child.

Sister Georgeann booked her ticket through Southwest in January, and four months before she was scheduled to take off, she received bad news of her own: After more than 100 years of educating children, Saint Joseph School announced it would close its doors for good.

“It was very difficult,” said Sister Georgeann. “It was a very tough time.”

Since the last day of school was in June, Sister Georgeann no longer had a reason to attend the conference in July.

“I was really upset that I wouldn’t be able to go to this conference, because I really was going for the purpose of being with the children in this school,” said Sister Georgeann. “So I did feel I needed to cancel it.”

She successfully cancelled her conference registration, but wasn’t as lucky with Southwest.

According to the airline’s policy, without trip protection, passengers can only receive airline credit for future flights. But since her only travels have to do with the school, that wasn’t an option.

“I was devastated because I wasn’t going to be able to go anywhere,” said Sister Georgeann. “So I started thinking about NBC Responds.”

NBC Connecticut’s consumer team explained her situation to a Southwest representative, who immediately offered to give Sister Georgeann a refund.

With $267 back in her pocket, plus some peace of mind, Sister Georgeann expressed her thanks in a way that she has likely heard many times before.

“I’m so grateful to all of you folks for doing that,” said Sister Georgeann. “And helping others.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Ex-Staffers Distributed Nude Photos of Congress Member: Feds


Two former employees of the U.S. House of Representatives have been indicted for allegedly circulating private, nude photos and videos of a Congress member and the member’s spouse, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

A grand jury indicted 35-year-old Juan R. McCullum, of Washington, D.C., on two counts of cyberstalking. The jury also indicted McCullum's former coworker, 45-year-old Dorene Browne-Louis, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on two counts of obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, McCullum offered to help repair the Congress member's iPhone in March 2016 by taking the device to a local Apple store. The iPhone had private, nude photos and videos on it.

Federal prosecutors say that a month before the Democratic primary election held on Aug. 6, 2017, McCullum created a Facebook account with a fake name, Susan Ricenville. He friended many Facebook users, including those of politicians competing with the member of Congress, prosecutors say.

On the page, McCullum allegedly posted between several nude photos and videos taken from the phone and "encouraged others on Facebook to redistribute the nude images and videos throughout [the member's] congressional district."

Between July 2 and July 21 of that year, McCullum also allegedly sent at least 11 emails with nude photos and videos of the member of Congress. Politicians and members of the media were among the recipients.

McCullum appeared on the VH1 TV show "I Love New York" and in 2015 was named the No. 5 Most Beautiful person on Capitol Hill by The Hill. According to that report, McCullum worked for Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands).

In July 2016, Plaskett said in a statement someone had copied person photos and a private family video of her and her husband, according to a Politico report. Plaskett said her political enemies were behind the leak, the report said.

McCullum sent text messages and emails to Browne-Louis about distributing the images, according to the indictment.

Browne-Louis allegedly deleted texts from McCullum from her phone in addition to making false, incomplete and misleading statements to law enforcement and a federal grand jury about what she know about McCullum's actions, the indictment said.

McCullum worked from April 2015 to June 2016 in the House member's office in D.C., according to the indictment. Browne-Louis worked in the same office from January 2015 to April 2016.

Browne-Louis appeared Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on personal recognizance pending a status hearing scheduled for July 19.

McCullum’s first court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for updates to this developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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