Joe Kennedy, Okmulgee, Oklahoma man person of interest in slayings of four men arrested in Florida as cops seek to tie man’s involvement in murder and dismemberment of four victims.
A person of interest in the deaths of four Oklahoma men whose dismembered remains were found in a river outside Okmulgee last Friday was arrested in Florida on Monday.
Joe Kennedy, 67, was taken into custody in Daytona Beach Shores while driving a stolen car. Kennedy who was being held on grand auto theft charges had yet to be charged with the slayings of the four victims, identified as Mark Chastain, 32, his brother Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29.
Okmulgee, Oklahoma, police Chief Joe Prentice said Kennedy will remain jailed on a $500,000 bond in connection to a 2012 felony shooting case.
The chief declined to say whether Kennedy was a suspect in the murder and dismemberment of the four Okmulgee men, while acknowledging the arrested man would now be brought to Oklahoma for questioning.
Police have said Kennedy denied knowing the men and he appeared cooperative with investigators during an interview Friday afternoon.
‘hit a lick.’
But the chief later announced Kennedy had gone missing. Two days later, Kennedy was arrested in Daytona Beach Shores in a vehicle reported stolen Monday, Okmulgee Police said.
On Monday, Oklahoma police confirmed that the remains were found in the Deep Fork River were that of the four missing men. The men were reportedly last seen leaving Billy Chastain’s house on bicycles pulling trailers on October 9. It wasn’t until a few days later, that the four friends’ bodies were recovered.
Prentice said they believe the friends intended to carry out theft or robbery as a witness said that the men planned to ‘hit a lick.’
While looking for the missing men, data from Mark Chastain’s wife’s cell phone reportedly led investigators to a salvage yard and a gas station. Investigators believe the phone was cut off after the men arrived at a second scrapyard near Okmulgee, where a deadly incident occurred.
Detectives believe the four bodies were dumped in the river on October 10, a day after the men were last seen. Their bicycles are reportedly still missing.
According to Tulsa World, police found evidence of a violent incident at a salvage yard owned by Kennedy and at nearby properties.
Detectives, who have not recovered the firearm used in the killings, are contending with the difficult task of combing through the river.
What led up to slayings?
All four bodies found in the river ‘were submerged in water for what appears to be an extended period of time,’ Prentice told media.
‘Although the official cause and manner of death is still pending, each victim suffered gunshot wounds,’ Prentice said. ‘All four bodies were dismembered before being placed in the river.’
Added the police chief, ‘The murder investigation is ongoing, and investigators continue to follow leads every day. Additional information will be relayed when it is available.’
Police were led to the river location, following data from the men’s phones according to KOKI.
It remained unclear what led up to the slayings.
Family members of the victims said they could not envision the relatives doing anything to warrant so much violence.
‘Whatever was going on, I don’t know. But what I do know is we need some justice for this,’ Joe Chastain, an uncle of two of the deceased men said.
Okmulgee, a city of about 11,000 people is roughly 35-mile south of Tulsa.
Anyone with information about what happened is asked to contact the Okmulgee Police Department by calling 918-756-3511 or emailing [email protected], Prentice said.