Divers in Arkansas recovered a body that appears to have been that of a 28-year-old Omaha man who was presumed drowned, an Arkansas television station reported Monday.
Michael C. Burton is believed to have drowned July 27 while spearfishing with a friend at Beaver Lake in Arkansas. Burton failed to surface from a free dive in a cove 60 feet deep.
Carroll County, Ark., Sheriff Bob Grudek told the television station that he notified Burton's family about the discovery. Authorities were waiting for a positive identification from a medical examiner in Little Rock, but the body that was recovered was in a dive suit with a video camera and weight belt that all matched the description of Burton's equipment when he disappeared.
Burton's family — which includes his wife, Annemarie Burton, and their 1-year-old son, Isaac — went ahead with a memorial Mass on Aug. 8 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.
The family could not be reached Monday evening.
Authorities had officially called off the search for Burton's body after nearly a week and more than 100 dives into the area of the lake that was described as a pitch black, heavily wooded ravine.
Members of dive teams from three counties plus volunteer divers continued their efforts unofficially, Grudek told the 5News television station.
A volunteer from a private dive team located the body about 11 a.m. Monday and marked the location with a buoy, the sheriff said. The Benton County, Ark., dive team then recovered the body.
“The most important thing for the family is the closure,” Grudek said. “We were very happy we were able to recover the body for the family.”
He said investigators hope to recover usable video from the camera found with the body to determine what might have gone wrong and caused the drowning. Grudek said the body was on the bottom of the lake and not hung up on any fishing line, hooks or debris.