The fears of friends, family and fans of country singer Craig Strickland were realized today as authorities released the information that Strickland was found dead early on Monday.
“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Division made recovery of the body of Craig M. Strickland this morning Jan. 4, 2016,” a spokesperson confirmed in a statement to People magazine. “Strickland’s body was located within the original search area known as Bear Creek Cove. The Strickland family has been notified of the recovery.”
Strickland’s wife, Helen Strickland, confirmed the sad news in a heartbreaking tweet.
“#CraigStrickland was found today,” she wrote. “He is safe with his Father in Heaven. Thank you Lord for leading us to him today. I will praise you, Amen.”
#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 Elizabeth Speaks (@HelenWisner) January 4, 2016
Helen gave more information about the recovery of Strickland’s body on Instagram.
“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,” she wrote in the caption of a photo of herself with Strickland. “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. 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. I know he saw Jesus at that moment when he laid down and walked arm in arm with Him into a better Everlasting Life. I love you with all my heart Craig Michael. #craigstrickland.”
She had been using social media to keep fans updated on theories and search methods being used to help find Strickland since he went missing in the last days of December.
She also posted a sweet photo on Instagram of the two of them on Christmas, just days before Strickland went missing.
Strickland and his friend Chase R. Morland left for a planned duck hunt on Kaw Lake in Kay County, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Dec. 26. Both were reported missing on Sunday, Dec. 27 after not being heard from in over 24 hours. The boat the pair was using in the hunt was found capsized on Dec. 27 and Morland was found dead on Dec. 28.
Strickland’s black lab, Sam, who was on the trip with Strickland and Morland, was found safe when Morland’s body was recovered.
Morland posted an ominous tweet on Dec. 26 as the two embarked on their fateful trip, referencing winter storm Goliath. “In case we don’t come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma,” he wrote. Strickland retweeted Morland’s words into his own feed.
— Chase Morland (@ChaseMorland) December 27, 2015
Our thoughts are with both Strickland and Morland’s loved ones during this hard time.