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‘Multiple’ remains found in Oklahoma river after four friends vanish, authorities say

The process of recovering the remains "will take some time, and currently, we have more questions than answers," a police official said.

What appear to be "multiple” human remains were found partially submerged in a river in the small Oklahoma city of Okmulgee Friday, nearly a week after the disappearance of four adult friends, authorities said Friday.

It wasn’t clear if the remains were of the four men, Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice told reporters. Authorities were working to document and recover them, he said.

“This process will take some time, and currently, we have more questions than answers,” he said.

Prentice said he notified the families of the missing men, who were last seen Sunday night leaving a home by bicycle, even though the remains haven’t been identified.

The department on Tuesday named the missing men as Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and Alex Stevens, 29. Relatives had reported them missing earlier, the department said in a statement.

Okmulgee missing men
From left, Alex Stevens, Mark Chastain, Billy Chastain, and Mike Sparks.Okmulgee Police Department via Facebook

Friday's discovery occurred shortly before 2 p.m., when a passerby notified authorities of "suspicious" items in a shallow river southwest of the town of roughly 11,300, Prentice said.

Prentice, who visited the scene before announcing the discovery, said there appeared to be "body parts protruding from the water."

"I can't tell you what's under the water," he added.

Prentice said it wasn't clear how many bodies were there or if foul play was involved. Investigators were documenting the scene through aerial video and photographs before they begin recovering the remains, he said.

Although witnesses have reported seeing the men as far as away as Monroe, Louisiana, Prentice said the only thing confirmed about their movements after they left the home Sunday was based on GPS data from cell phones that two of the men are believed to have had with them.

That data showed them traveling east, then south, Prentice said, adding that authorities hadn't been searching in the area where the remains were discovered.

The bicycles the men had when they left a home "associated" with Mark Chastain have not been found, Prentice said.