Days after a search began for four missing Oklahoma men, four bodies were found in the Deep Fork River near the town of Okmulgee and police suspect foul play is involved.
Authorities had been looking for Mark Chastain, 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29, who were reported missing Monday, according to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.
The four were last seen on bicycles leaving Billy Chastain’s home.
The bodies were found Friday afternoon.
“A passerby saw something that looked suspicious in the water and called dispatch,” Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said, according to Gray News.
An NBC News report on the case is below:
“Officers responded and discovered what appears to be multiple human remains in the river [but] we don’t know that this is our missing men yet,” Prentice said according to KFOR.
“If it turns out that these four missing men are the remains in the river, then the focus of our investigation will shift from finding them to what happened to them. [But] if it’s not them, then we’re back to square one,” Prentice continued.
Although no official identification was made, Prentice notified the families of the missing men.
“At this time, we cannot make an identification, but out of respect, we let the families know before it was officially announced,” he said.
As of Friday, he said, “We have more questions than answers.”
Prentice said no cause of death was yet available, but noted that the location of the remains might indicate foul play was involved, according to the Tulsa World.
Okmulgee is about 35 miles south of Tulsa.
Prentice said Saturday that none of the bicycles the men were riding have been found, according to CNN.
He stressed that the cell phone data doesn’t necessarily indicate where the men traveled, according to CNN.
CNN described the men as close friends. The New York Post reported the two Chastains are brothers.
Data from cell phones with the group indicate they went to two salvage yards – one five miles from the river and the other twice as far away, according to CNN.
Prentice said that data had led police to search in that direction instead of the area where the bodies were found.
WABI reported that there was a heavy police presence in a scrapyard after the bodies were found.
“Officers continue to sift through digital evidence already obtained and await phone records from search warrants, while we wait for identification,” Prentice said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
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