4 friends shot dead, dismembered, thrown in river; person of interest found

Photos of the four friends who were murdered and dismembered.

Police in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on Monday said four bodies found in a river on Friday have been positively identified as four men who were reported missing earlier in the week.

“Although the official cause and manner of death is still pending, each victim suffered gunshot wounds,” Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said. “All four bodies were dismembered before being placed in the river, and that is what caused difficulty in determining identities and that’s why it took so long.”

The men — Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and Alex Stevens, 29 — were friends, and their relatives reported them missing last Monday night or early Tuesday, the Okmulgee Police Department said. It was reported that they all left Billy Chastain’s home on Oct. 9 via bicycle, and then weren’t heard from again.

Prentice said that after speaking to a witness, it’s believed the men intended to “commit some type of criminal act,” but “we do not know what they were planning or where they planned to do it.” Officers have searched a scrap yard in Okmulgee, Prentice said, and while “nothing remarkable was observed,” there was “evidence of a violence event” discovered at the property next door.

Four close friends who mysteriously disappeared in Oklahoma were killed in a “violent” shooting at a scrapyard, dismembered and thrown in a river, according to police.

The owner of the scrapyard, Joe Kennedy, is a person of interest in the quadruple murder, Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said at a news conference Monday. Prentice stressed that Kennedy has not been named a suspect.

Police said Monday that Kennedy was missing. On Tuesday, police said he was found in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, and arrested for allegedly driving a car that had been reported stolen in Okmulgee County: Police find multiple human remains in Oklahoma river amid search for 4 missing men.

The victims, Mark Chastain, 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29, were last seen leaving one of their homes in Okmulgee on the night of Oct. 9, reportedly riding bicycles, according to Okmulgee police.

“I’ve worked over 80 murders in my career … but this case involves the highest number of victims and it’s a very violent event,” the chief said.

The victims planned to commit a crime that night, Prentice said Monday, citing an individual who had been asked to participate but declined. Police do not know what the alleged planned crime involved.

Their four dismembered bodies were found in a river on Friday.: Investigators searching for 4 close friends who vanished in Oklahoma

There’s nothing to indicate any relationship between Kennedy and the victims, Prentice said. Kennedy has denied knowing them, he added.

The victims’ bicycles remain missing, police said.

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