Joe Kennedy, 67, was arrested while driving a stolen vehicle in Daytona Beach Shores, the New York Post reported. Kennedy had been previously named a “person of interest” in connection to the deaths of four men in Oklahoma who set out on their bikes nearly a week before their bodies were discovered.
“The murder investigation is ongoing and investigators continue to follow leads every day,” Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said in a statement on Tuesday, according to the Post. Prentice, however, declined to call Kennedy a suspect and said he is merely being brought back to Oklahoma for questioning.
Kennedy became a person of interest after blood evidence showing a “violent event” was found at a scrap yard he owns near where the cyclists’ bodies were found. The bodies of Mark Chastain, 32; Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and Alex Stevens, 29, were discovered in the Deep Fork River outside Okmulgee, Oklahoma, NBC News reported.
The four men had been shot and then dismembered before their bodies were disposed of in the river.
“We believe the men planned to commit some type of criminal act,” Prentice told reporters after the bodies were found. “We do not know what they planned or where they planned to do it.”
The idea that the four men had set off to commit a crime came from a single witness who said he had been invited along with the four friends to “hit a lick big enough for all of them,” according to Prentice, who used the same slang as the witness.
The police investigation led to a scrap yard, where “Nothing remarkable was observed inside the salvage yard, but evidence of a violent event was discovered on an adjoining property,” Prentice told reporters.
Kennedy owns the salvage yard and was named a “person of interest.” He was initially questioned last Friday after a search of his salvage yard but denied knowing the murdered men. He was reported missing on Saturday “and may be suicidal,” Prentice said, according to NBC.
Cell phone records showed the victims’ phones last pinging in Kennedy’s scrap yard.
Kennedy is currently serving a 10-year suspended sentence for an assault and battery charge stemming from a 2012 encounter between him and six men who broke into his scrap yard, the Post reported. Kennedy at the time pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon after he shot and injured one of the intruders.
He is currently being held in Florida for grand theft auto, the Post reported.