Bismarck boater goes missing on Lake DeGray Friday

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CLARK COUNTY, Ark. — A Bismarck family is desperate for answers after a man went missing on Lake DeGray last week.

Donny Beason, 47, was last seen on his fishing boat early Friday morning. Hours later, he was gone.

Witnesses saw Beason’s boat going around in circles near the swim area at Arlie Moore Park.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says his boat ran out of gas and drifted a mile away down Lake DeGray.

“It’s day 6 and still nothing,” Debra Hulsey, Beason’s girlfriend said.

“He sent me a text, telling me ‘I love you, goodnight’ it was 12:58,” she said. It was the last time she’d hear from him.

When Beason’s boat was found, he was not on board. The family says his cell phone and life jacket was still on the boat.

Along with AGFC, Park Rangers, Clark County Sheriff’s deputies and dive team, Nathan Hearitige is using his own time and technology to help out.

“I can see a lot of the ground and cover a lot of the lake that people can’t on foot,” Hearitige said about his drone.

He learned about the missing boater on Facebook, packed up his camp on the Buffalo River and headed to the lake, drone in hand.

So far, everyone searching has come up empty.

Law enforcement says they’ve sent out as many as 6 boats to run sonar and drag parts of the lake ever since the skilled fisherman went missing.

“He wasn’t afraid of the water, he was afraid of what could happen in the water,” Hulsey said.

“It took me a while to understand what he meant, but I understand it now.”

Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson says their evidence points to his body being in the lake.

Trees and deep, cold water could prolong the search. Only time will tell.

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