The four Oklahoma men who were last seen riding their bicycles more than a week ago before they were shot dead and dismembered were planning to commit some serious crime, police said on Monday. The dismembered bodies of the four men were pulled out of an Oklahoma river last week but not much was known about how and why they were killed.
The bodies were discovered late last week in the Deep Fork River, according to Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice. The four men were identified as Mark, 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29. The men were believed to have left a house in Okmulgee on their bicycles on the evening of October 9.
Mysterious Disappearance and Death
Police said they went missing after that till their dismembered bodies were fished out of the river last week. On Monday, authorities made fresh revelations that the four men might have been planning to commit some serious crime when they were shot dead.
According to Prentice, the bodies were dismembered and riddled with bullet wounds. Police claimed that a search of a nearby scrap yard turned up evidence of a "violence occurrence."
The men were believed to have been dismembered before being dumped in the river, according to the police, who claimed the river looked like a landfill.
"We believe the men planned to commit some kind of criminal act when they left the resident on West 6th Street," Prentice told reporters.
"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," he said, using slang for obtaining money illegally.
According to authorities, one of the victims' phones last pinged at a salvage yard owned by Joe Kennedy, a person of interest in the case. Kennedy was interviewed by investigators on Friday but has since gone missing and may be suicidal, Prentice said.
Investigators from the local, state, and federal levels claimed Monday morning to have recovered the last of the victims' dismembered body parts from the river. According to Prentice, the remains were not weighed down and had probably been submerged in the sea since last Sunday.
"All four bodies were dismembered before being placed in the river and that is what caused the difficulty in determining identity," Prentice said. "The river appears to be a dump site. Whenever water is involved it makes it much more difficult to identify evidence," he said.
Police said that neither the bicycles belonging to the victims nor a murder weapon has yet been recovered.
"I did speak with the family members," Prentice said. "The family members were upset. I think they had already resolved themselves that this was their loved ones, but the additional information about dismemberment was obviously a shock and they were very distraught."
"I've worked over 80 murders in my career. I have worked on murders involving multiple victims. I have worked in dismemberments. But this case involves the highest number of victims and it's a very violent event. So I can't say I've never worked anything like it, but it's right up there at the top."
Meanwhile, police are still looking for Kennedy. No charges have been filed against him as of now. According to police, Kennedy's blue PT Cruiser was discovered abandoned in Morris, Oklahoma, behind a store.
Kennedy, 67, owns several scrap yards in the area. He hasn't been identified as a suspect in the case, but neither has he been found. The chief requested that anyone who saw him let someone know.
Kennedy cooperated with the police on Friday night and maintained he didn't know the four victims, according to Chief Prentice. According to The Oklahoman, Kennedy is on probation now after pleading guilty to assault and battery with a deadly weapon in 2012.
He described to sheriff's deputies how he caught six alleged burglars at one of his savage yards and shot one of them, while the others fled.
The men were all from Okmulgee, which is about 40 miles south of Tulsa and has a population of 11,000 people.