Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, Police Chief Joe Prentice says that in his 36 years in law enforcement, he has never seen four adult men disappear at the same time.
At least that was the case before four friends including Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and Alex Stevens, 29, went missing on Oct. 9 before investigators found their dismembered bodies, all four with gunshot wounds, on Oct. 14 in the Deep Fork River.
“Most missing persons cases involve one person, so this is rare. Very rare,” Prentice told Fox News Digital. “I’ve done 36 years in law enforcement and have never heard of four adult males going missing at the same time.”
On Tuesday, Daytona Beach police arrested Joe Kennedy, 67 — whom authorities named as a person of interest in the four murders on Monday — on charges of motor vehicle theft. He is being held without bond at the Volusia County Jail.
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The Okmulgee Police Department is not discussing why Kennedy is a person of interest or why he has was labeled a person of interest rather than a suspect in the first place.
The police department on Monday did reveal it discovered Kennedy’s blue PT Cruiser behind a business in Morris, Oklahoma, about 6 miles east of Okmulgee. Police had searched a scrapyard on 20th Street that Kennedy owned — near the scene where the four victims’ remains were found on Friday — and discovered “evidence of a violent event was discovered on an adjoining property.”
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A number of items were recovered from the scene of the crime that may or may not be related in “an abundance of caution,” Prentice said.
Kennedy himself went missing after he was named a person of interest before his Tuesday arrest.
“We have information indicating that [the victims] were planning to commit some kind of criminal act, but we don’t know what that act was or when they planned to do it,” Prentice said when asked what the four friends were doing when they disappeared, citing a witness who reported being invited to participate who shared that information with the police department.
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“We continue to investigate, and that involves numerous things,” Prentice explained. “We continue to … sift through digital evidence, we are still awaiting phone records that we submitted search warrants for, we are interviewing potential witnesses and people that called in additional information, and any new leads that come in, we follow them.”
It’s just like any other investigation, but with a lot more material to dig through, the police chief said.
Jessica Chastain, Mark Chastain’s wife, told FOX 23 that their young children “don’t understand” what happened. “They can feel the sadness. … They feel that something is going on,” she said.
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The mother of two is still in disbelief over the lost of her husband, his brother and their friends.
“It just feels like he’s still in my garage, if that makes sense,” she told the outlet. “Or he’s still out here, or something. He’s just here. It doesn’t feel like he’s gone. I don’t know if that’s normal, [but] I don’t feel like he’s gone.”