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Dismembered bodies of missing friends found in Oklahoma river 

Police now believe the four men had planned to “commit some type of criminal act”

October 18, 2022 6:38am

Updated: October 18, 2022 1:20pm

Four dismembered bodies found in a river in Oklahoma were positively identified as a group of friends that went missing while riding their bicycles, officials said adding that the incident will now be investigated as a murder. 

“Although the official cause and manner of death is still pending, each victim suffered gunshot wounds,” Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said in a news conference on Monday. 

“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,” he added. 

The four men—Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and Alex Stevens, 29 –were reported missing last Monday by their family members after leaving a home in Okmulgee, Oklahoma on their bicycles at around 9 p.m. on October 9. 

Police now believe the four men had planned to “commit some type of criminal act,” after a witness said he had been invited to join and to “hit a lick big enough for all of them.”

“That is common terminology for engaging in some type of criminal behavior, but we do not know what they were planning or where they planned to do it,” Prentice said.

The bodies of the men were found after a passerby called 911 reporting something suspicious, leading investigators to find the remains protruding from the water. By Sunday evening, police had positive IDs for all four bodies. 

“I’ve worked over 80 murders in my career. 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,” Prentice said. “So I can’t say that I’ve never worked anything like it, but it’s right up there at the top.”

Police say they have identified a person of interest but have not filed any charges. Prentice added that the person of interest has gone missing as of Saturday night and could be suicidal.