Smith Lake community reacts to end of Kelsey Starling search

Local News

SMITH LAKE, Ala. (WIAT) — After three months of searching and waiting, Kelsey Starling is returning home. Saturday night, divers with the Houston County Search and Rescue recovered Starling’s body.

Starling was involved in a boat crash on July 4, and crews have been searching for her ever since.

Smith Lake residents and vacationers alike said they’re glad this recovery effort can bring the Starling family some closure. “It’s kind of a bittersweet,” said Kelly Rigdon. “It’s happy and sad. But, I just feel for the family, that they got closure and were able to bring their baby girl home.”

The community has mourned alongside the Starling family. “I can never fathom how the family feels right now. But I’ll continue to send out my thoughts and prayers,” said Christopher Dobbs, who works at a restaurant along the lake.

After ALEA idefinitely suspended their search efforts for Kelsey Starling, members of the community decided to take matters into their own hands. Nearly $70,000 was raised through gofundme to purchase recovery equipment and continue the search.

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