Singer’s body recovered at Kaw Lake

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Singer’s body recovered at Kaw Lake

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed Monday that search crews have recovered the body of a 29-year-old Arkansas man who went missing more than a week ago while duck hunting at Kaw Lake.

An OHP release to the media said the body of Craig Strickland was found Monday morning by foot patrol on land. It reportedly was located in Bear Creek Cove, which had been part of the original search area.

Strickland, the lead singer of a moderately well-known country/rock band, disappeared in severe winter weather on Sunday, Dec. 27, while accompanied by his dog and a friend, 22-year-old Chase Morland of Van Buren, Ark. The public lake on which they were hunting is located in Kay County, near the western edge of Osage County.

Searchers located Morland’s body on Dec. 28. It reportedly was being guarded by Strickland’s Black Labrador dog, Sam, who survived the ordeal. The recovery efforts, which involved aerial search units, boats equipped with side-scan sonar and specially-trained canines, expanded to a wider area Tuesday and Wednesday.

Strickland’s wife, Helen, a former Miss Arkansas, expressed gratitude to rescue teams as they continued the search. By last weekend, she had accepted the likelihood of a grim outcome.

“He’s in a better place,” Mrs. Strickland said Saturday, referring to her husband. “Still we want that closure in seeing him.”

Strickland’s band, Backroad Anthem, shared a touching tribute to the singer, calling him the “most passionate person that we know.”

Investigators have reported that there were apparently no personal flotation devices being used by the hunters. It also has been noted that their boat — which had capsized — was designed for one person.

A Dec. 27 post to Chase Morland’s Twitter account had stated, “In case we don’t come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm.”