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July 15, 2017

Loved ones, strangers pay tribute to men slain in Bucks County

Solebury Murders Victims
Carroll - Cosmo DiNardo Investigation Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Part of the 80-acre DiNardo family farm can be seen off Upper Mountain Road, near Lower York Road, in Solebury Township on Friday, July 14, 2017. Violent crime is rare in this corner of the Philadelphia countryside.

 Family and friends rocked by the murders of four young men in suburban Philadelphia posted tribute after tribute on social media this week after authorities identified the victims and charged two 20-year-olds with their murders.

"Whatever I write here will not and cannot do his beautiful soul any justice," Loralynn Ingreso wrote of one of the victims, Tom Meo, in a lengthy tribute posted on Facebook. "Tom was such an integral part of my time in Philadelphia. ... He was and still is my best friend."

For the better part of a week, Bucks County was the epicenter of what started as a massive, high-profile missing persons investigation into the whereabouts of Meo, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis and 19-year-olds Jimi Taro Patrick and Dean Finocchiaro.

Three bodies were discovered buried this week in a 12-foot-deep grave on a Solebury Township farm owned by the parents of Cosmo DiNardo, who was charged in the killings Friday with his cousin, Sean Kratz. The fourth body was found in another location on the property.

Each victim was killed after allegedly traveling to the farm to purchase marijuana from DiNardo. The murders left family members, friends, community members and outsiders reeling and wondering why.

On Facebook, Suzy DiDonna wrote in her own tribute to Meo wrote that she is "absolutely broken."

"I hope with my entire soul that you're at peace, wherever you are," she said. "I hope you aren't in pain. I hope your suffering is over."

Ingreso wrote at length about Meo's character, describing the 21-year-old from Plumstead Township as "loyal, respectful, understanding, and patient."

She also recalled stories that illustrated her point, including an instance in which Meo once offered to give Ingresso's friend a ride to the library because it was dark outside and snowing heavily. That memory, among many, stands out, she said.

"I am heartbroken, sad, and confused," Ingresso wrote. "I am in awe of the amount of love and support from family, friends, and strangers. God has blessed me with Tom’s presence in my life."

Friends and acquaintances of Meo's mother, Melissa Fratanduono, set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. The page had raised more than $2,000 in just a few hours as of Saturday evening.

Sturgis, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County, and Meo reportedly worked together at Sturgis' father's construction company.

Amber Rose, a Facebook user who identified herself as Sturgis' step sister, described Sturgis and Meo as best friends.

"I don't want to believe this is true," she said.

People from all over the country posted condolences on Finocchiaro's Facebook page.

"This breaks my heart. I've been praying since I saw this story," one commenter said. "Praying for all the boys and their families."

"May God bless and comfort the families of these four beautiful souls," another one wrote. "As a mother, this is incredibly heartbreaking. Was hoping for a different outcome."

All four men had the word "Remembering" added above their names on each of their Facebook profiles.

Earlier in the week, Patrick's family issued a statement in which they laid out a number of the young man's accomplishments. Patrick, of Newtown, attended Loyola University in Maryland on a full scholarship, they said, and had just completed a freshman year in which he made Dean's List.

The Rev. Brian F. Linnane, president of the university, wrote in a statement Friday that "we are understandably sad, angry and confused."

"We will grieve, support one another, and continue to surround Jimi’s loved ones in comfort and prayer," Linnane wrote. "We will also find ways to celebrate Jimi’s life and memory."

A vigil in memory of the four victims is set for 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield Township. The service includes prayers, the lighting of candles and music by Broadway composer Chris Smith and Matthew Schuler, a Pennsbury High School graduate and former contestant on NBC's "The Voice."

DiNardo, of Bensalem, and Kratz, of Northeast Philadelphia, are due in Bucks County district court July 31 for a preliminary hearing before Judge Maggie Snow.