Man remembers brother found dead in Morrilton, searching for answers

Local News

MCCRORY, Ark. – A man was found dead in the Arkansas River in May and his family is still searching for answers about his death.

With much surrounding his death still unknown, loved ones are asking for the community to come forward with any information from that night, and help put the heartbreaking mystery to rest. 

Pirtle was found May 28th in Morrilton near Cherokee campground. He was laid to rest June 12th surrounded by loved ones, but his family continues their quest for justice. 

For Pirtle’s younger brother Roger Kelley, he will never forget his first thoughts after receiving that devastating phone call saying Michael had been found dead.

“It just can’t be true,” Kelley remembers thinking, “It can’t be my brother.” 

Pirtle was a shining light in Kelley’s life, a beloved brother he remembers sharing a phone call with just days ago.

Now, that treasured friend is gone at just 24. 

“He wouldn’t let anybody do anything that would harm anybody,” Kelley says about Pirtle, “because that’s the way he was.”

Although Pirtle lived in Morrilton, he started out in Kelley’s hometown of McCrory, playing sports with his brothers on their neighborhood street and keeping an eye out for his family. 

How he ended up in the river and what led to that night is still uncertain, with the investigation into Pirtle’s death ongoing.

But it’s a mystery his family is determined to solve, and they’re asking for help from the community to comes forward with answers and help share Michael’s story. 

“All of us family want justice brought to Michael’s death,” Kelley said. 

So far, there are no further updates in Pirtle’s case. Kelley asks that anyone with information related to Pirtle’s death contact Conway County law enforcement. 

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