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Search Called Off For Local Diver In Arkansas

Kimberly Foley

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Search Called Off For Local Diver In Arkansas

CREATED Aug. 2, 2013
Omaha, NE -- On Friday, the search for a missing Omaha diver was called off.
Michael Burton went missing July 27 while spear fishing with a friend in Arkansas.
He went under the water and never resurfaced. 
His mother, Marissa Pepper, said the past week has been difficult, but Friday was especially hard because she got the call saying the search for her son was over.
"The hard part is people never know what to say, and honestly, there is nothing you can say," said Pepper.
In the absence of words, Pepper finds her faith.
"When we first heard Michael had gone missing, it was...I don't even know how to describe it," she said. "You just hope and pray for the best."
For a week, Burton's family has waited in Omaha for divers to find his body.
"Michael was just a great young man," said Pepper. "(He was) very, very faithful and very involved in his Catholic Church. (He) loved his wife, unbelievably, and his son Isaac, too."
While divers didn't find Burton's body, his mom knows he is at peace.
"It's hard because we don't have a body, but regardless of where his body is, that isn't where Michael is," said Pepper. "Michael is with the Lord in heaven, so we are just holding on to that."
Pepper said she is grateful for the divers who looked for her son and those who continue to support her family after the search parties went home.
"There are prayers all over the world going out," she said. "We feel extremely supported. As his mom, it's just so special to know how loved my son was and is."
It's that love that assures Pepper she will see her son again.
"We just have to move on in faith and love, and one day, we will be with him again," she said.
Pepper said her son's passion for the water started when he was little. 
His father was in the Air Force. He was stationed off the coast of Portugal when Burton fell in love with the ocean.
She described him as a little fish that spent all his time in the water.
There has been a fund for Isaac and Annemarie Burton setup at Great Western Bank. It is called "The Memorial for Michael C. Burton."