Police have confirmed that “multiple human remains” have been discovered during their search for four cyclists who went out for a bike ride in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on Sunday night and never returned home.
At around 8 p.m. local time on Sunday, 32-year-old Mark Chastain, his 30-year-old brother Billy Chastain, 32-year-old Mike Sparks, and 29-year-old Alex Stevens headed out for a bike ride and then seemed to disappear. The four were reported missing on Monday, and police have been on the hunt for them ever since.
The search took an alarming turn on Friday when a passerby reportedly spotted something “suspicious” in the Deep Fork River, about 40 miles from Okmulgee, and immediately notified police. Though police said that they have found “multiple objects in the water that appear to be human remains,” they cautioned that they have not identified any of the remains and that there is no evidence of foul play.
“At this time, we cannot make an identification, but out of respect, we let the families know [about the discovery] before it was officially announced,” Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said at a press conference. “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.”
Though Prentice admitted that he has never seen a case of four simultaneous disappearances, he advised the community not to jump to conclusions.
“At this point, the evidence tells me I have four missing adults,” Prentice stated. “I have no evidence there’s any violence involved at this point. We always consider that a possibility in any missing persons case, and we’re not discounting that possibility, but not persons of interest.”
Meanwhile, family and friends have expressed skepticism that any of them will be found alive.
“I know nothing, and I’m feeling lost,” admitted Jessica Chastain, wife of Mark. “I’m heartbroken. I’m sad. I have so many mixed emotions and thoughts.”
Billy’s girlfriend Megan Gordan shared similar doubts: “It’s getting hopeless. I still have hope, but it’s getting hopeless.”
Gordan claimed that family and friends have continued their own search for the missing men.
“Just because [police are] searching doesn’t mean we can’t,” Jessica added.
It is believed that the men may have made several stops on Sunday evening. GPS records from Mark’s cell phone indicate that they may have visited a junkyard, a gas station, and a salvage yard. Mark last spoke on the phone around 5 p.m. on Sunday, the last time anyone had confirmed communication with any of the men. Though there are other reported sightings of them as recently as early Tuesday morning, none of those sightings has been confirmed.
“We’re heartbroken,” Jessica Chastain stated. “We’re sad. We’re just, the unknown is what’s getting us. Like, we need some type of closure.”
Police insist they will provide updates on the case as soon as they become available.