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UPDATE: Body of missing kayaker found in Lake Butte des Morts

Michael Iriarte
Posted at 10:25 AM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 19:20:19-05

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (NBC 26) — The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that the body of a missing kayaker was found in Lake Butte des Morts.

  • Fisherman found a body on Lake Butte des Morts.
  • Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office identified the body as Michael Iriarte, who went missing on the lake in November.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The body of a kayaker who went missing months ago has been found. In Winnebago county, I'm Olivia Acree, where police tell me fishermen found Michael Iriarte's body in the middle of Lake Butte des Morts.

It's been months since 41-year-old Michael Iriarte's family reported him missing to law enforcement.

“We’ve had so many different entities come together in a search effort trying to bring peace to the family of Mr. Iriarte,” said Michael Sewall, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

Mike Sewall is a detective lieutenant with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. He says Iriarte went out kayaking on Lake Butte des Morts and never came home.

“All we know is he was an avid fisherman. He enjoyed the outdoors and kayaking and fishing were some of his favorite pastimes and that’s why he was out there,” said Sewall.

The following day, emergency responders found his kayak. Now, nearly three months later…

“Ice fisherman were out on Lake Butte des Morts... thought they located a deceased individual on the ice there,” said Sewall.

Sewall says his department confirmed its Iriarte and they notified his family. The sheriff's department says there will be no further investigation. Sewall said the medical examiner is still working to determine a cause of death.