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Posted: December 29, 2016

Missing country singer's dog was found alive with friend's body

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By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

TULSA, Oklahoma —

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The wife of missing country singer Craig Strickland, lead singer of the group Backroad Anthem, said Tuesday that the couple’s dog, who was with him, was found alive.

Strickland’s wife, Helen, said the dog, Sam, was found by the body of Strickland’s friend, Chase Morland, on Monday. The boat the two friends were using for duck hunting had capsized.

Morland’s body was recovered from the lake.

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“For everyone wanting to know, Sam is fine. He was a brave boy. He wouldn't leave Chase's body until the Warden found him,” she tweeted.

Family members said Sam is an older dog and the fact that he survived  gave them hope that Strickland might be found alive.

The search for Strickland, 29, of Springdale, Arkansas, resumed Tuesday along the 38-mile long lake in northern Oklahoma where the two disappeared.

Strickland is the lead singer of the Arkansas-based country-rock band Backroad Anthem. The band posted a Twitter message Tuesday from Strickland's father, Randy, who reported that the family was at the Kay County Sheriff's Office, where the power was out and running on a generator. Randy Strickland did not immediately return a message at his Oklahoma address seeking comment but said in the online post that Craig's dog, Sam, had been found.

The expansive terrain, coupled with the severe storms that pounded the area over the weekend, hampered rescue efforts, said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons. The severe rains and flooding are blamed for at least five deaths in Oklahoma and more than 100 injuries, according to state health officials. On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency after blizzard conditions affected parts of the state and heavy rains fell.

Kay County Sheriff Everette VanHoesen said the enormity and unpredictable nature of the lake catches many inexperienced boaters by surprise.

"It's a big lake, and when we have high winds, the lake will get whitecapped; the waves get pretty big," VanHoesen said Tuesday. "I understand these men were avid hunters. They knew what they were doing, but sometimes the size of our lake really tricks them."

Strickland is married to former Miss Arkansas Helen Wisner, who posted a message on her Twitter account reading, "We love you Craig Michael. Come home."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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