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