Craig Stickland's Wife Finds New Hope 1 Week After Disappearance: He 'May Have Actually Floated' After Boat Capsized
"Our family has been incredibly blessed by your presence and the dedication of your furry friends," Helen wrote in a post thanking search crews
The search for Craig Strickland continues.
Over the weekend, his wife Helen Strickland took to Instagram with updates on the ongoing efforts to locate the 29-year-old country star.
“We are so thankful for the 4 State Search and Rescue team who have volunteered their services to help the Oklahoma State Police,” Helen wrote in part on Saturday, nearly a week since he was reported missing on Dec. 27.
She added, “We are also blessed to have the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, McLean County EMA (IL) and the Cottleville Fire Dept (MO) working as one combined effort. They have all brought with them so much hope for myself and the rest of our family.”
Strickland, a singer for country-rock band Backroad Anthem, had been duck hunting with a friend, Chase Morland, on Oklahoma’s Kaw Lake during winter storm Goliath. Their boat capsized and Morland was later found dead. Strickland was unaccounted for, but hope was renewed when his black lab Sam was located on the bank of the Arkansas River last week.
“We are hanging in there,” Strickland’s bandmate Toby Freeman exclusively tells PEOPLE. “We are still in shock. It’s still hard to believe and I know the family is struggling and ready to find him.”
Helen, who was Miss Arkansas USA in 2014, remained optimistic over the weekend in her follow-up posts.
“We were unable to locate Craig Strickland today,” she wrote of a video posted on Sunday. “However, we are able to stay positive after conducting an interesting experiment to see if waders actually cause a person to sink.” Helen later added, “From this experiment we can conclude that Craig may have actually floated after the boat was capsized.”
Helen was also involved in the search, heading out on the water with a family friend.
“Searching for Craig on a friend’s boat this morning,” she captioned an Instagram on Sunday. “We located a cove that looked promising – Officers and one search & rescue K9 are currently searching the area. Hopefully positive news will follow this afternoon. #craigstrickland #prayersforcraig #powerofprayer.”
Strickland’s wife shared her emotions and strength in her final photo of the day, which honored the people and canines looking for him.
Helen described the search party as “such wonderful, hardworking, godly people.”
She continued, “Our family has been incredibly blessed by your presence and the dedication of your furry friends. We cannot thank you enough for the hard work and tiresome volunteer hours you poured into the search for #craigstrickland. Your acts of kindness and generosity gave our family continued hope. Thank you for creating this program strictly from the goodness of your hearts. I know it takes a ton of effort to train every single day. Your pups are amazing. Love in Christ, Helen.”
“It’s more painful for us to think he could be underwater,” she said. “Still we want that closure in seeing him.”
• Reporting by DANIELLE ANDERSON