Police have now launched a murder investigation after four men who vanished after leaving a property in Okmulgee, Oklahoma on bicycles last week have been found dismembered in a river.
Police Chief Joe Prentice said: "Although the official cause and manner of death is still pending, each victim suffered gunshot wounds.
"All four bodies were dismembered before being placed in the river and that is what caused difficulty in determining identities and that's why it took so long." The four missing men, who were all living in Okmulgee, have been named as Mark Chastain 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29. The men were all reported missing by family members last Monday night or early Tuesday morning after leaving Billy Chastain's home on bicycles at approximately 9pm on 9 October.
Authorities have said they believe the four men went out with the intention to "commit some type of criminal act".
Mr Prentice said in a news conference that this information had come from a witness who was invited to join them and to "hit a lick big enough for all of them."
He added: "This is common terminology for engaging in some type of criminal behaviour, but we do not know what they were planning or where they planned to do it."
The police chief said that there is a person of interest in the case but no charges have been filed. He added that the person of interest has gone missing as of Saturday.
Authorities have not yet recovered the murder weapon or any of the bicycles.