Four men were shot dead and dismembered before their bodies were thrown into a river in Oklahoma, US police said.

A man who was considered a person interested in the case has since disappeared.

Investigators found the victims’ first remains on Friday after a passerby saw something suspicious in the Deep Fork River near a bridge, Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said. Their bikes were not found, he added.

“All four bodies were dismembered before being placed in the river and this is what caused the difficulty in determining identity,” Prentice said.

“The river appears to be a landfill. This is now a murder investigation.”

The victims were confirmed as Mark Chastain, 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29.

They were reported missing on 9 October after leaving Billy Chastain’s home in Okmulgee on a bicycle around 8pm.

Prentice said investigators believe the men intended to “commit some sort of criminal act” that night.

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Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice. Image: AP

Joe Kennedy, the owner of a demolition site, is considered to be interested in the case after “evidence of a violent event” was uncovered on an adjacent property, Prentice said.

Police were brought into the area by a ping from Mark Chastain’s phone.

Mr. Kennedy was not named a suspect in the case, but the police chief said he was missing and asked the public to report any sightings of him.

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