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Craig Strickland, Backroad Anthem Singer, Found Dead at 29

Twitter, @BackroadCRAIG
Twitter, @BackroadCRAIG

Craig Strickland, lead singer for Arkansas-based country band Backroad Anthem, has died at age 29, his wife Helen has shared.

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 tweeted on Monday (January 4). The sad news came after a week-long search effort around Oklahoma’s Kaw Lake, following the discovery of his friend and hunting partner Chase Morland’s body on December 28. According to Arkansas’s KHBS, the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner’s preliminary reports cite drowning and exposure to freezing temperatures as the cause of death.

Fans and friends of Strickland have followed the search for the singer via Helen’s Twitter account, where she’d offered a steady stream of updates and prayer over the last few days. Helen also retweeted photos of the happy couple from Craig’s account. One small bright spot amid the tragedy: Strickland’s Labrador, Sam, was found alive the day after the two were reported missing.

Morland had joked about the dangers of the trip himself as they’d embarked on it, in an update that’s disturbing in retrospect. “In case we don’t come back, and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma.  ,” he wrote on December 27.

Backroad Anthem was formed in 2012, and have opened for high-profile acts including Toby Keith and Dierks Bentley. Strickland’s widow Helen was crowned Miss Arkansas USA in 2014, the same year the two were married.

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