Missing Hot Springs Man has Newport Ties

JULY 5, 2005 - Posted at 1:54 p.m. CDT

HOT SPRINGS, AR - Authorities in Garland County are still looking for a man reported missing over the holiday weekend.

Payton J. Burgess, 40, of Hot Springs vanished after 2 a.m. Sunday, when he was last seen by a friend.  Burgess is a 1982 graduate of Newport High School, and is the son of regionally-known rockabilly musician Sonny Burgess of Newport.

At 6 a.m. Sunday, fishermen called sheriff's deputies to report they'd found a party barge in the main channel of Lake Hamilton making slow circles with no one aboard.

The sheriff's department said this morning that Burgess still had not been found.  Investigators say there is no sign of foul play and they are treating the case like a missing persons investigation.

An underwater search could begin today.  Anyone with information on where Burgess may be is asked to call authorities.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)