Body of Newport Native Found in Lake Hamilton

JULY 19, 2005 - Posted at 1:35 p.m. CDT

HOT SPRINGS, AR - The body of a missing Hot Springs man has been found by construction workers on the shore of Lake Hamilton.

Newport native Payton Burgess, 40, was found yesterday, two weeks after he disappeared and was presumed drowned.  Police say Burgess was driving a party barge on the lake and dropped off a friend after a fireworks display.

Fishermen found the empty barge four hours later, trolling and moving in circles.  Police suspected Burgess fell off the boat and drowned.

Divers searched for Burgess, but had no success.  Burgess' body was found a half-mile from the search area.

Burgess is a graduate of Newport High School and the son of Newport-based musician Sonny Burgess, who gained moderate fame in the fifties as a rockabilly star.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)