Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, Police Chief Joe Prentice says that in his 36 years in law enforcement, he has never seen four grown 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, disappeared on Oct. 9 before investigators found their dismembered bodies, all four with gunshot wounds, on Oct. 14 in the Deep Fork River.
“Most missing person cases involve one person, so this is rare. Very rare,” Prentice told Fox News Digital. “I’ve worked 36 years in law enforcement and I’ve never heard of four grown men 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 Monday — on motor vehicle theft charges. He is being held without bond in 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 been labeled a person of interest rather than a suspect in the first place.
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Police revealed Monday that they discovered Kennedy’s blue PT Cruiser behind a business in Morris, Oklahoma, about 6 miles east of Okmulgee. Police had searched a scrap yard on 20th Street that Kennedy owned — near where the four victims’ remains were found Friday — and discovered “evidence of a violent event was discovered on an adjacent property.”
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A number of items were recovered from the crime scene that may or may not be related in “an abundance of caution,” Prentice said.
Kennedy himself disappeared after he was named a person of interest before his arrest on Tuesday.
“We have information that suggests that [the victims] planned to commit some type 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 attend, who shared this information with the police department.
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“We’re continuing to investigate, and it involves several things,” Prentice explained. “We’re continuing to … sift through digital evidence, we’re still awaiting phone records that we served search warrants for, we’re interviewing potential witnesses and people who have called in additional information, and any new leads that come in we’re following up on them.”
It’s 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 grief… They feel something is going on,” she said.
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The mother of two is still in disbelief over the loss 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 magazine. “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.”