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Family of missing boater on Lake Murray speaks out

According to DNR, a boater went missing Sunday afternoon after going into the water. The search continued Thursday afternoon.

LAKE MURRAY OF RICHLAND, S.C. — The search for a missing boater on Lake Murray entered its fourth day on Thursday. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has been looking for a boater that they say fell into the water Sunday afternoon.

A release from the agency suggests that the boater on a pontoon boat with friends "jumped off the boat and did not resurface late Sunday afternoon," near Acapulco Island and Dreher Island State Park in Lexington County.

The department said they are using multiple boats, a dive team, and a plane to search Lake Murray. SCDNR has yet to confirm the identity of the person they are searching for.

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But the family of Terrance Butler said he is the missing person and that he went missing Sunday afternoon after spending the day on the lake celebrating with friends.

His longtime girlfriend, Lakesa McGraw, said they boarded the boat to celebrate her sister's birthday.

"He got on the boating joking. He had everyone laughing, saying 'I’m 250 strong, I’m 250 solid.'"

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McGraw added that after a long day in the sun, she laid down between Butler's legs and woke up to chaos.

"'He fell in the water! He fell in the water!’ My brother had jumped in the water behind him," she said. "Do all the rescue things, looking under the boat to see where he is. Everybody else jumping in who can’t swim. Three people called 9-1-1."

McGraw spoke to News19 about Butler's impact on her life and the lives of others.

"This is a man who would fight until the end of the world to make sure his loved ones were taken care of. Those same loved ones are now fighting for him," she said. "He fought for this country, he does all these great things. He work for the Department of Juvenile Justice, he loves kids, he has a daughter that he would give the shirt off his back."

DNR said its teams plan to continue their searches from sunrise to sunset until the missing boater is found.

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