After nearly a week of searching, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officials confirmed Monday (Jan. 4) the body of missing country music singer Craig Strickland was recovered. He was a 29-year-old vocalist in the Arkansas-based country rock band Backroad Anthem. His body was found in the original search area of Kaw Lake in Oklahoma. Fans already are sending extra prayers to the family on social media.
Strickland's wife, Helen, confirmed news of her husband's death on Twitter Monday. "#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," she wrote.
As reported on Dec. 30 by The Gospel Herald, Strickland was duck hunting with his friend, Chase Morland, at Oklahoma's Kaw Lake just as a fierce winter weather system was hitting central portions of the country, the band said. Morland's deceased body was discovered, along with Strickland's dog, who had survived the accident.
Lt. Kera Phillippi with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said their boat apparently flipped, reports CNN.
Strickland's fellow band members posted the following message on the group's Facebook page Monday evening: "Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate. Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn't be matched.
"Thankful to know he fought his way from the water to a hill and was lying in the shape of a cross on his back looking up to his Heavenly Father. Revelation 21:4 'He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'"
"We pray today for God to wrap his arms around Randy, Joanne, Helen, and the family, and to help us through this extremely difficult time. We want to thank every single friend, fan, and family member for your thoughts, prayers, and love. Today he is smiling down on us and we know he will always be with us. He will always be here to help guide us along the way. We love you Craig Strickland and we will forever miss you!"
The weather at the time of the duck hunting trip was perilous, with rain, sleet and snow pelting the area, as well as wind gusts of up to 45 mph and wind chills as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Severe storms had pounded the area and hampered rescue efforts, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons told the Associated Press. The severe rains and flooding were blamed for at least five deaths in Oklahoma and more than 100 injuries, according to state health officials, reports USA Today.
Fox News reports Strickland's body was found in an area known as Bear Creek Cove.
The six-member band had formed in 2012.