Imagine the pain the families of four young men shot dead, burned, and buried on a property in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, are going through right now.
Nothing can prepare a family for the moment when police officers knock on the door to confirm a loved one's death. If you've never had to experience that door knock, consider yourself blessed. I can tell you from personal experience, it haunts you for life.
The victims are identified as: Dean Finocchario, 19; Thomas Meo, 21; Mark Sturgis, 22; and Jimi Patrick, 19. Their families had reported them missing on separate days the week before, and from there the investigation took off. This case is a perfect example of how crucial it is for investigators to reach out to the media when dealing with a missing person case, and for the media to respond, especially in those first few hours. Otherwise, how can the public be expected to come forward with information if they don't even know someone's disappeared?
Bucks County District Attorney, Matthew Weintraub, was front and center from the start of this investigation, holding multiple news conferences and encouraging the public to come forward with tips. Pictures of the victims appeared on every news channel--local and national--as well as online.
The public responded by providing crucial information to investigators. As a result of those efforts from the public, the media, and most of all due to outstanding police work, this case resulted in the arrest of cousins, Cosmo DiNardo, 20, and Sean Kratz, 20.
According to the probable cause affidavit, all four bodies were found on a property belonging to DiNardo's parents. Three of the bodies were buried in a 12-foot-deep common grave, the fourth was buried in a shallow grave not far from the others. In exchange for his confession to the killings, DiNardo won't face the death penalty. Both men are being held without bond.
As I watched this case unfold, I couldn't help but think about Janteyl Johnson. What if Janteyl and her baby had received the same attention and media coverage? Or even a quarter of the coverage this case generated? Chances are maybe their disappearance would be solved by now.
Although heart-wrenching, at least the victims in the Bucks County case will be returned to their families, and justice will soon prevail. Thank goodness the four young men weren't dismissed as just runaways or troubled youth. The chilling details of their deaths, allegedly over drug deals gone wrong, will haunt their families and the community for years to come.
But at least the families have answers, and their sons' cases will not go unsolved. Their case files won't sit somewhere collecting dust. Most important, the parents won't have to live with the not knowing as so many families of missing loved ones do, especially when the missing persons are minorities. Many of those cases don't get any media coverage at all.
The editing process is underway. A more clear timeline of what happened the day Janteyl Johnson vanished is emerging. Did she really run away?
More to come...
May 25 is National Missing Children's Day. It's a day to remember and raise awareness about the thousands of missing children who have yet to come home. Make sure you share a poster of a missing child in your area.
By: Claudia Rivero
Janteyl Johnson's case will be solved. It will be solved because someone is going to do the right thing and come forward with information about her disappearance. That's what I believe.
People who were once afraid to talk may suddenly get a case of loose lips. It's also possible their conscience will get to them and eat away at their sense of peace. Either way, Janteyl Johnson's case will be solved.
I've followed Janteyl's story since she disappeared in 2010. We've put together videos and created this blog to raise awareness about Janteyl and her unborn child. I've spoken to countless people, traveled to multiple states and knocked on more doors than I can recall. Once you start asking questions the pieces of the puzzle slowly start to emerge. I've also reached out to the New Castle County Police countless times to see if they'd be interested in doing a piece about Janteyl, but so far they have not responded with a yes or no.
It doesn't mean that others don't want to keep this unsettling case in the public eye. The Johnson family very much wants to know what happened to their daughter and grandchild, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children would also like to see this case solved. Someone out there knows what happened to Janteyl and her baby, and the time has come for them to speak up. Do the right thing. If you have information about Janteyl Johnson call the New Castle County Police at 302-395-8133. This case will be solved.
More to come...
By: Claudia Rivero
People continue to ask about the older man and/or other individuals possibly linked to the disappearance of Janteyl Johnson. Someone named "Josette" posted the following message after Janteyl's story was featured on The Vanished Podcast:
As previously mentioned, the New Castle County Police have not named any suspects. The case remains open and investigators are hoping to generate leads. What investigators have said from the beginning is that they believe Janteyl left on her own possibly with an older man. They've also stated that she had been in contact with several older men prior to her disappearance.
Here's what we do know:
Feb. 3, 2010: Janteyl Johnson is reported missing by her mother. NCCPD respond to the family's home at 35 Winterhaven Dr. in Bear, DE. They use a K9 unit to assist in the search and activate a reverse 911 call to alert nearby residents of the search.
Feb. 4, 2010: No local media coverage about Janteyl's disappearance. Janteyl Johnson is listed as a runaway who may be traveling with an older man. Per sources, NCCPD investigators focus on at least two people as investigative leads.
Feb. 5, 2010: Delawareonline.com and Websleuths.com run a brief mention about Janteyl's case.
Feb. 11, 2010: The Newarkpostonline.com mentions Janteyl's case.
Feb. 16, 2010: I interviewed Janteyl's mother for NBC10 Philadelphia. NCCPD confirm they spoke to the man believed to be the father of Janteyl's baby but he has not been cooperative with police.
Feb. 19, 2010: Newark Post briefly mentions Janteyl's disappearance but her picture is placed alongside several individuals wanted for a variety crimes.
April 2010: I interviewed Janteyl's mother again for NBC10. NCCPD spokesperson says "It doesn't look good" but declines to offer further details.
May 6, 2010: Detective handling Janteyl's case sends information to Porchlight International, an online organization that focuses on missing-persons.
November 2013: According to court records, the man believed to be the father of Janteyl's baby is arrested by New Castle County Police and charged with assault in the third degree, terroristic threatening, offensive touching, and strangulation. The victim is a 19-year-old woman and mother of one of his children.
April 22, 2014: According to court records, the individual pleads guilty to strangulation and is sentenced to probation. He was facing five years in prison but both sides, with the victim's input, agree to probation instead.
September 9, 2016: Janteyl's case is featured on The Vanished Podcast, a popular podcast that highlights missing-person cases. The podcast brings much needed media attention to Janteyl's disappearance. The case remains an open missing person investigation.