Pennsylvania authorities are searching for four young men who went missing in the past week.
Jimi Tar Patrick, 19, vanished last Wednesday. Two days later, Mark Sturgis, 22, Tom Meo, 21, and Dean Finocchiaro, 18, all vanished.
In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub was asked if he believed foul play was involved. “I sure believe there is,” he replied, adding that authorities are treating the case “as a criminal investigation at this time.”
At least five municipal police departments, the Bucks County Sheriff, Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI are involved in searching multiple locations for any trace of the men. “It’s all hands on deck,” Weintraub told reporters. “The investigation is very serious and very sensitive.”
Investigators are focused on a large farm near where the men were last seen. They have taken the farm owner’s 20-year-old son into custody on an unrelated firearms charge. He is being questioned by police.
Meanwhile, cops are trying to determine how the men knew each other. Sturgis and Meo are longtime friends who work in construction for Sturgis’ father. Finocchiaro is a mutual friend of theirs. It’s unclear whether Patrick knows any or all of the men.
Police have brought in heavy equipment to search the 68-acre farm, including a backhoe. Weintraub says that the search could go on for days. “It’s like finding needles in a haystack,” he said at the news conference. “We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to find there.”
While police continue their search, the men’s families are praying for their safety — and are trying to keep a positive attitude. “At this point, as the hours pass, it seems more and more grim,” Sturgis’ father, Mark Potash, told Philly.com. “It is very difficult. I really don’t know how I’m going to make it through the rest of the day. I’m going minute by minute right now.”
Anyone with information about the men’s whereabouts is asked to call the investigation’s tip line at (215) 297-8201.