4 friends shot dead, dismembered, thrown in river; person of interest found

The person of interest, Joe Kennedy, was found in Florida, officials said.

ByEmily Shapiro via ABCNews logo
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Person of interest found in murders of men found dismembered in river
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Four close friends who mysteriously disappeared in Oklahoma were killed in a violent shooting at a scrapyard, dismembered and thrown in a river, police say. The owner of the scrapyard, who is a person of interest in the quadruple murder, has been located.

OKMULGEE, Okla. -- Four close friends who mysteriously disappeared in Oklahoma were killed in a "violent" shooting at a scrapyard, dismembered and thrown in a river, according to police.

The owner of the scrapyard, Joe Kennedy, is a person of interest in the quadruple murder, Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said at a news conference Monday. Prentice stressed that Kennedy has not been named a suspect.

Police said Monday that Kennedy was missing. On Tuesday, police said he was found in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, and arrested for allegedly driving a car that had been reported stolen in Okmulgee County.

The victims, Mark Chastain, 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29, were last seen leaving one of their homes in Okmulgee on the night of Oct. 9, reportedly riding bicycles, according to Okmulgee police.

Mark Chastain, Billy Chastain, Mike Sparks, and Alex Stevens were last seen leaving one of their homes in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, around 8 p.m. Sunday reportedly riding bicycles, according to police. (Okmulgee Police Department/Facebook)
Billy Chastain, one of the four friends who mysteriously disappeared in Oklahoma, is pictured in an undated photo released by Okmulgee Police Department. (Okmulgee Police Department/Facebook)

"I've worked over 80 murders in my career ... but this case involves the highest number of victims and it's a very violent event," the chief said.

The victims planned to commit a crime that night, Prentice said Monday, citing an individual who had been asked to participate but declined. Police do not know what the alleged planned crime involved.

Their four dismembered bodies were found in a river on Friday.

There's nothing to indicate any relationship between Kennedy and the victims, Prentice said. Kennedy has denied knowing them, he added.

The victims' bicycles remain missing, police said.

ABC News' Nadine El-Bawab and Irving Last contributed to this report.