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Detectives begin murder investigation after bodies of four missing Okmulgee men found in river

Missing men from Okmulgee
Okmulgee Police Department
A photo of 30-year-old Billy Chastain, 32-year-old Mark Chastain, 29-year-old Alex Stevens, and 32-year-old Mike Sparks.

Okmulgee police have confirmed that four bodies found in the Deep Fork River last Friday are those of Mark Chastain, Billy Chastain, Mike Sparks, and Alex Stevens.

Investigators found all four men with gunshot wounds and said that their bodies had been dismembered.

Police Chief Joe Prentice said detectives believe that the men planned to commit "some type of criminal act" after they left from Billy Chastain's home on bicycles Sunday, October 9th.

"That belief is based on information supplied by a witness who reports they were invited to go with the men to 'hit a lick big enough for all of them,'" Prentice said.

Authorities said they do not know what the men planned to do or where they planned to do it.

Multiple local, state, and federal agencies are assisting with the investigation.

Officers said they're still working to find the men's bikes as well as the gun and the person who shot them.

What's next for the investigation?

"A lot of work. We're still waiting on cellular telephone records, we have requested additional video surveillance from businesses in the area, we'd like to talk to Mr. Kennedy again," Prentice explained. "But as information comes of people who potentially know things we're going out and talking to them."

Detectives say they've also identified Joe Kennedy as a person of interest — he owns a scrap yard in the area where police say they found evidence of a "violent event."

Officials said Kennedy denied knowing any of the men but has been missing since Friday, October 14th.

On Monday October 17th, investigators said they found Kennedy's blue PT Cruiser left abandoned behind a business in Morris, Oklahoma. Kennedy's vehicle is now in police custody.

If you have any information on the ongoing murder investigation, detectives are asking that you call Okmulgee Police at 918-756-3511. You can also reach out to your local police department. Click here to send an email to investigators.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.