Body of Kelsey Starling recovered at Smith Lake

Local News

UPDATE 11:55 pm. — The body of Kelsey Starling was recovered Saturday evening, according to State Troopers Marine Patrol division.

Search efforts resumed Thursday for Starling, who disappeared after a boat accident July 4. Divers from Houston County Rescue Squad located Starling Saturday in about 140 feet of water.

Starling was located in the approximate location of where the accident occurred in Rock Creek on Smith Lake, ALEA reports.

Starling’s sister, Megan, took to Facebook to announce the news of her recovery:

The search for my sister, Kelsey, has weighed on our hearts every moment since July 4th, 2019. We all needed closure….

Posted by Megan Starling on Saturday, October 5, 2019

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UPDATE 9:52 P.M. — Officials report a body has been recovered from Smith Lake. At this time, they have not confirmed the identity.

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WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Officials report a body has been located on Smith Lake near where local teacher Kelsey Starling went missing three months earlier.

Officials with the search tell CBS 42 they have visual confirmation with underwater cameras that they have located a body. At this time, they are prepping for a recovery. Search and recovery work has been hampered by an underwater forest of trees that were not cut down when the lake was created more than 50 years ago.

The news update comes three months after multiple searches to find Kelsey Starling turned up nothing. Starling, 26 went missing during a Fourth of July boating accident where the boat she was on was involved in a collision with another boat around 10 p.m. Starling was unaccounted for after the accident and has not been seen since.

Starling was a speech pathologist at Tuggle Elementary School.

In September, Circuit Judge Jimmy Daryl Burt set a jury trial on Feb. 3 for Nick and Jodi Suggs, the drivers of the other board who were both charged with criminally negligent homicide in the accident. Jackson Fite, who was driving the boat Starling was on, pleaded guilty back in August to boating under the influence and was given two years probation.


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