Dismembered bodies found in Oklahoma river belong to 4 missing men, police confirm

Okmulgee Police Department confirmed that four dismembered bodies recovered from a river in Oklahoma Friday belonged to a group of missing men and that they are searching for a person of interest following their murders.

On Monday police Chief Joe Prentice confirmed the bodies of four men pulled from the Deep Fork River, Southwest of the city of Okmulgee, on Friday belonged to Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Alex Stephens, 29; and Mike Sparks, 32, who were reported missing overnight last Monday. 

The men, close friends, were believed to have left Billy Chastain’s home in Okmulgee Sunday night, reportedly on bicycles, according to police. 

Investigators believe that the men planned to commit some kind of criminal act when they left a residence, according to a witness who told police they were invited to go with the men to “hit a lick big enough for all of them,” Prentice said. 

But police said they do not know what the men planned to do, or where. 

Investigators did not discover any evidence during a search of a salvage yard, but said they found evidence of a “violent event” on an adjoining property, Prentice said. 

While police have not named a suspect, they said Joe Kennedy, owner of two salvage yards, is considered a person of interest.

Kennedy was reported missing Saturday night and may be suicidal. He is believed to be driving a Chrysler with Oklahoma license plate number LSA245, Prentice said. 

No charges have been filed against Kennedy but “investigators would like to speak with him again,” Prentice said. 

The cause of death for the men is still pending, but police confirmed all four had gunshot wounds and their bodies were dismembered before they were dumped into the river.

Prentice said police recovered the majority of the men’s remains on Friday night and recovered final pieces on Monday morning. 

Prentice could not specify when exactly the bodies were placed in the river but guessed somewhere between late Sunday night or early Monday morning because “it would take a considerable amount of time to put the bodies in the condition that they were and then dump them in the river.”

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