It’s been nearly a week since anyone last heard from country singer Craig Strickland. Though Craig’s family continues to hope for the best, the situation remains understandably quite stressful.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) January 2, 2016
The nightmarish situation first unfolded when 27-year-old Strickland and his long-time friend, 22-year-old Chase Morland, departed Arkansas on a duck hunting trip on December 26. The men knew they were heading into dangerous weather brought on by Winter Storm Goliath, and Morland even joked about the danger in what would be the last tweet he’d ever send.
— Chase Morland (@ChaseMorland) December 27, 2015
After no one had heard from either Chase or Craig in more than 24 hours, law enforcement was contacted, and a search began. The police found Morland’s body on Monday morning. Near him was Strickland’s dog Sam. The animal managed to survive the worst of the storm while refusing to leave the deceased Chase behind. It was his survival that initially fueled hopes that Craig Strickland was also alive.
However, as days pass with no sign of the Backyard Anthem vocalist, things appear increasingly grim. Though wife Helen Strickland has been brave in the face of this unfortunate situation, she admits that she is seeking answers as the search for Craig continues. The family and public both know that the storm caused the men’s boat to capsize. ABC News reports that Helen worries that the reason rescuers haven’t found her husband is because he drowned and his body is somewhere in northern Oklahoma’s Kaw Lake.
“It’s more painful for us to think he could be underwater,” said Helen. Knowing the love of her life met such a horrible fate would be painful, but it’s clear the lack of closure would be even more unbearable. For the sake of closure, Strickland’s loved ones “want that closure in seeing him”…even if he’s no longer alive.
“Still we want that closure in seeing him.”
— EntertainmentTonight (@etnow) January 2, 2016
People wrote that Helen updated fans of Craig a couple of days ago by alerting them to the fact that the search area was cut in half. That’s because searchers were able to identify shoe prints that belonged to Strickland, Morland, and the dog. Knowing their path and where they were has helped investigators have a general sense of where Craig could be. It’s hoped that this rough estimation will allow those searching for Craig to hone in on the location of Strickland and maybe, if he’s still alive, get him the help he’d very desperately need at this point.
All his loved ones can do at this point is wait and hope for the best. People quoted “an emotional message” from the other members of Strickland’s band Backyard Anthem.
“For those of you who don’t know Craig he is the most passionate person that we know! He is on fire for God, his Wife, his family, his life, and this band…Craig is by far the best communicator that we have ever seen. His passion for music and the stage are what many times have kept us going miles and miles down the road. We want Yall our fans, friends, and loved ones to know Craig is an amazing person, husband, son, bandmate, and most certainly best friend.”
Meanwhile, Helen Strickland has let her thanks be known to everyone working their hardest in their efforts to locate Craig.
“The canine units (and) the Kay County Sheriff’s Department have been so wonderful to us. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol having gone above and beyond, especially going through this struggle, is the most comforting thing you can have,” she said. “To see how much more work can be done in a specific area, it has given us a lot of rest because we feel like that’ll give us a lot of hope they will find Craig soon.”
[Image via Helen Strickland/Instagram]