Craig Strickland’s body was found covered in debris on Monday. The missing country singer for Backroad Anthem had been duck hunting with long-time pal Chase Morland and his dog, Sam, when the boat capsized. A severe winter storm in Oklahoma caused both men to wind up in the water, making Sam the only survivor of the tragic accident.
Helen Strickland, Craig’s widow, attended a memorial service for Chase Morland on Tuesday. She, the Backroad Anthem country singer’s father, Randy Strickland, and host of loved ones had held out hope that the 29-year-old managed to make it out of the water and would be found by rescue teams.
— Duck Commander (@Duck_Commander) January 5, 2016
Sam was found next to the body of Chase Morland and has refused to leave his side, Craig Strickland’s widow said, according to Us Magazine. Morland was found on December 28.
“We had the opportunity to go to Chase Morland’s visitation tonight,” Helen Strickland said yesterday. “He was so loved by so many people. It was encouraging to be around his wonderful friends and family.” Her husband’s 9-year-old black lab joined her and Craig’s family at his friend’s memorial service. “He has truly been a comfort to all of us. We are so thankful the Lord blessed us with such an extraordinary pup.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Craig Strickland’s Backroad Anthem bandmates were a close group, which had begun to achieve early success in the country music genre. The band members include: Brandon Robold, Eric Dysart, Toby Freeman, Josh Bryant, and Isaac Senty. The group had been scheduled to play a New Year’s Eve gig at the Rev Room in Little Rock, Arkansas.
— People magazine (@people) January 6, 2016
An Oklahoma State Trooper found the country signer’s body while searching through rugged terrain in a brushy area near Bear Creek Cove. The body was found approximately a quarter of a mile from where Chase Morland was discovered about a week earlier. The state highway patrolman first spotted the camo duck hunting gear belonging to the country music singer. After finding the gear, the trooper began working his way through the underbrush about 75 feet from the creek’s banks, and ultimately found Strickland’s body.
The state highway patrol also reported that drug and alcohol use is not believed to have been a factor in the boating accident, nor is foul play. Searchers found the 1977 Flat Flat Bottom John Boat Craig Strickland and Chase Morland were using, sans its motor, their duck hunting decoys, and a cooler near where the bodies were found. Police officers referred to the boats and its contents as a “debris field,” Entertainment Tonight reports.
Helen Strickland said that she believes that Craig “fought his way” out of the frigid waters of the swollen creek after the boat he and Morland were in capsized. She said that he may have been able to get up a hill, but sadly, succumbed to hypothermia.
“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,” Helen said after the announcement about the country singer’s death was made public.
Just prior to going out in the Oklahoma winter storm to go duck hunting, Chase Morland posted this message to Twitter.
“In case we don’t come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm”
An autopsy of Craig Strickland’s body is not yet completed, and no official cause of death has been noted.
[Image via Twitter]