UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 29 (5:20 p.m. ET) – Craig Strickland’s friends and family are clinging to a renewed sense of hope after his dog Sam— who accompanied the singer on the hunting trip—was found alive.

“Craig’s dog being found alive is a very good sign,”; Strickland’s Backroad Anthem bandmate Toby Freeman told People. “That’s a piece of hope that we’re actually clinging on to.

“Dog being man’s best friend is a saying that’s so common, but it’s actually so true in this case,”; he added. “Sam’s an older lab and for him to make it in such harsh conditions – it’s just so amazing and we’re clinging on to that.”;


While finding Sam is a comforting break in an otherwise horrifying three days, Strickland’s closest are finding it increasingly difficult to remain strong as the days pass by.

RELATED: Sam Hunt Takes The Country Music Charts By Storm

“Craig and his dad Randy are so close. They pretty much do everything together when he’s home,”; says Freeman. “They are a very faith-based family. God is their center. I know Randy’s clinging to hope, but his heart is just broken. It’s such a gut-wrenching accident and it’s so tragic. His wife Helen is struggling so much, she’s just hoping and praying that they find Craig.”;

According to a meteorologist, winds in the area were clocked at 72 km/h and temperatures dipped down to -6 degrees celsius. Despite such harsh conditions, Strickland’s friends have faith in the singer’s survival skills. “Anything that Craig put his mind to he could accomplish,”; Freeman added. “He’s so passionate about his wife, his family, the band – he had a fire in him for the things he loved.”;


A search is underway for rock-country singer Craig Strickland (pictured above, fourth from left) after a hunting trip that seems to have gone terribly wrong. The lead singer of the band Backroad Anthem is currently still missing after the pair headed out early Sunday morning; his good friend Chase Morland, 22, who accompanied Strickland on the hunt in Oklahoma, was found dead in a lake on Monday afternoon.

Family members called police when they hadn’t heard from the pair in over 24 hours.

Morland posted this foretelling tweet before the two men headed out:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThe search for Strickland, 29, will resume Tuesday after their hunting boat was found very late Sunday night in the same lake as Morland’s body  — authorities believe it capsized and sent the two experienced hunters into the water. Strickland’s wife, Helen, has taken to Twitter to garner support for the search:


This isn’t the first time the two men have gone into the wilderness together. Several posts on social media show them in camouflage in dense forest. The weather at the time of the incident was not ideal, but it’s not known if it was a factor in the incident.

BIG things to come.. w/ @chasemorland #DeerOnCam @plythal_gear

A photo posted by CRAIG STRICKLAND (@backroadcraig) on Oct 7, 2015 at 11:53am PDT