Oklahoma police confirm 4 missing friends were murdered and dumped in river

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.

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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.

There is a person of interest, Prentice said, who has been missing since Saturday night and could be suicidal. Officers have not yet recovered any bicycles or the gun used to kill the men. "I've worked over 80 murders in my career," Prentice said. "I have worked murders involving multiple victims. I have worked dismemberments, but this case involves the highest number of victims and it's a very violent event. So I can't say that I've never worked anything like it, but it's right up there at the top."

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