The wife and bandmates of Backroad Anthem singer Craig Strickland have issued statements following the news that his body was recovered Monday morning, January 4th, near Kaw Lake in Oklahoma. The comments shed light on how Strickland may have died. He and friend Chase Morland had been missing since December 27th, when they encountered extreme weather while duck hunting. Morland's body was found on the 28th.
"We can finally rest knowing that he is at Home in Heaven with his Father. 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," read an Instagram post by his wife Helen Strickland, a former Miss Arkansas USA who married the singer a little over a year ago. "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."
Strickland's band Backroad Anthem were gearing up for a busy 2016, having secured representation for management, touring and publicity through Nashville-based companies. Remaining members Toby Freeman, Eric Dysart, Josh Bryant, Brandon Robold and Isaac Senty remembered their friend's joyful spirit and thanked fans for their support through the gut-wrenching ordeal.
"Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate. Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn't be matched," the group shared on Facebook. "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. . . 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."
Strickland, an Arkansas native, was 29.