Country music singer Craig Strickland has been found at last, one week after he went missing. Unfortunately, Strickland was found dead, bringing the search for the Arkansas-native to a tragic end. The loss of Craig is crushing to the many people who’d hoped this story would conclude on a far more optimistic note.
The body of the 29-year-old Backyard Anthem vocalist was, according to USA Today, discovered by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol on the morning of January 4 in the area of Bear Creek Cove. Craig’s wife Helen Strickland and the rest of his immediate family were notified of the discovery a short while later.
Helen herself confirmed her husband’s death through a touching Twitter message.
#CraigStrickland was found today. He is safe with his Father in Heaven. Thank you Lord for leading us to him today. I will praise you, Amen.
— Helen Strickland (@HelenWisner) January 4, 2016
Fans of Craig Strickland and the band Backyard Anthem have continued to show support in the wake of this horrible situation. Helen has repeatedly expressed her love and gratitude for the kindness shown to herself and Craig’s family during their time of need.
“Thank you to every single person who prayed for him and our family during this time. There was not a more peaceful way for him to go into the arms of our Lord, and I know your prayers had a role in making that happen.”
After learning that Craig had indeed died during a hunting trip with his 22-year-old friend Chase Morland, many observers were curious as to what exactly happened to Craig Strickland. Why didn’t he survive?
Strickland’s wife shared a haunting account on Instagram of how he very likely died.
“The night of the accident he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in. He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep. They found him lying in the shape of a cross looking up to his father.”
— Variety (@Variety) January 5, 2016
The body of Craig Strickland was discovered almost exactly one week after his friend Chase Morland was found. Not far from Morland was Strickland’s beloved dog, Sam. The animal proved to be both the sole survivor and a loyal companion; he reportedly refused to leave Chase until authorities finally discovered him.
Perhaps the eeriest aspect arising out of this sad situation is that both men managed to confirm this would be one hunting trip that neither one would survive. On the night they left their native Arkansas to go for a duck hunt in Oklahoma, Morland sent out the following tweet.
— Chase Morland (@ChaseMorland) December 27, 2015
The prophetic message would prove to be the last words ever shared by Chase — and final retweet that friend Craig would ever send.
The two men’s death can be linked to the fact that they were on a boat in Kaw Lake during Winter Storm Goliath. Somehow, the boat capsized, dumping them into freezing water. There were no floatation devices used. While the men were apparently able to get to shore, the frigid temperatures proved too much.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 4, 2016
Strickland’s Backyard Anthem bandmates have spoken up in the wake of his death. According to an exclusive by People, bandmate Toby Freeman admits that they are “still in shock” but “hanging in there.” Said Freeman, “It’s still hard to believe, and I know the family is struggling.”
The group released an official statement to Facebook in response to Craig Strickland’s death.
“Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate. Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn’t be matched.”
The severe weather in Oklahoma, which included heavy rains and flooding, is blamed for five deaths and nearly 100 injuries. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons admitted to the Associated Press attempts to rescue Craig Strickland and Chase Morland were “hampered” by the terrible weather.
[Image Via Craig Strickland/Twitter]