Country music singer Craig Strickland has been found dead more than a week after he went missing in a powerful winter storm, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Monday.
Strickland, a 29-year-old vocalist in the country rock band Backroad Anthem, was duck hunting with his friend Chase Morland late last month at Oklahoma’s Kaw Lake as a fierce winter weather system was hitting central portions of the country, the band said.
Rain, sleet and snow pelted the area, with wind gusts of up to 45 mph and wind chills as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Morland acknowledged the danger in a haunting tweet December 26.
“In case we don’t come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm.”
Morland’s body was found two days later. The friends’ boat had apparently overturned, and Strickland’s dog was found alive.
Morland’s cause of death was determined to be drowning due to a capsized boat, coupled with exposure, the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner’s office said.
In a Facebook post Monday, the band said Strickland appeared to have “fought his way from the water to a hill and was lying in the shape of a cross on his back.”
Strickland’s six-member Backroad Anthem formed in Arkansas in 2012.
News of the ill-fated trip spread through the music industry. Musician Tyler Rich recounted on Facebook that he and Strickland were sitting at a Nashville bar about two months ago, talking about “how excited we were to see what each of us would be able to accomplish in 2016.”
“Just know we’re praying for you brother and know there’s still hope you’ll be found,” Rich’s post reads.
Morland, of Van Buren, Arkansas, had worked at a Gellco Outdoors hunting supply store in Arkansas.
“Chase lost his life in a duck hunting accident in Ponca City, Ok,” a post on the business’s Facebook page reads. “Our prayers and sympathy go out to the Morland family during this time of loss. We ask all of our customers to remember this family at this time.”