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4 missing cyclists found dismembered in Oklahoma river were on their way to commit crime

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Jessica Schladebeck

New York Daily News

The search for four friends who vanished shortly after taking off for a bike ride in Oklahoma has come to a grisly end, with authorities confirming their dismembered bodies were discovered in a river over the weekend.

“I’ve worked over 80 murders in my career,” Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said Monday night. “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.”

The men — Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and Alex Stevens, 29 — were initially reported missing by family members to the Okmulgee Police Department last week. They were last seen alive leaving Billy Chastain’s house on bicycles pulling trailers on Oct. 9 around 8 p.m.

Authorities now believe the group, described as “close friends,” intended to commit “some type of criminal act” when they left the house, Prentice said, citing information provided by a witness who was invited to join them. The witness told investigators the men were planning “to ‘hit a lick’ big enough for all of them,” the police chief said.

While it’s still unclear what exactly the victims were planning, authorities were able to track their movements to a salvage yard and then a local gas station with data collected from an app on Mark Chastain’s wife’s phone. From there, they visited a second scrapyard south of Okmulgee and then an adjoining property, where authorities believe they were killed.

On Friday, a person traveling by Deep Fork River called police, alerting them to something suspicious in the waters. When authorities arrived on the scene, they saw body parts peaking through the surface and eventually recovered the remains of all four men.

“Although the official cause and manner of death is still pending, each victim suffered gunshot wounds,” Prentice said. “All four bodies were dismembered before being placed in the river and that is what caused difficulty in determining identities.”

Authorities have not recovered any of their bicycles, nor the gun used in the slayings.

The owner of both salvage yards visited by the group of men, Joe Kennedy, has been named as person of interest in the case. Prentice said he is also missing and that authorities have reason to believe he could harm himself.

Anyone with information about what happened is asked to contact the Okmulgee Police Department by calling 918-756-3511 or emailing tips@okmcity.net, Prentice said.

©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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