Watch CBS News

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 on Friday belonged to a group of missing men and that they are searching for a person of interest following their murders.

Police Chief Joe Prentice on Monday confirmed the bodies of four men pulled from the Deep Fork River, southeast of the city of Okmulgee, 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 on 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.

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

Kennedy was reported missing Saturday night and may be suicidal. On Monday, police found Kennedy's blue PT Cruiser abandoned behind a business in Morris, Oklahoma, Prentice said in an update on Facebook. 

Investigators are looking into how the vehicle got there. As of Monday, they no longer knew what type of vehicle Kennedy may be using.

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."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.