‘We really want Kelsey back,’ says family of missing Smith Lake boater

Local News

TROY, Ala. (WIAT) — The search for 26-year-old Kelsey Starling of Troy is still ongoing, according to officials. Starling first went missing from Smith Lake after a boating accident the night of Independence Day.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol Division tells CBS 42 that over a half dozen agencies are currently assisting with the search effort.

In Troy, the family of Starling is worried greatly, but hopeful that somehow, someway, Kelsey will come home.

“She’s so smart, so beautiful, so much life ahead of her,” said Megan Starling, the 17-year-old sister of Kelsey.

To Megan, Kelsey is more than a sibling. She’s a role model, and a good one at that.

“She is the first on our mom’s side to have graduated college,” said Megan. “She trooped through school, was valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude.”

And, according to Megan, Kelsey lived life to the fullest. Before the crash, Kelsey was employed by Birmingham City Schools as a speech pathologist.

Megan tells CBS 42 that she last spoke with her sister on the Fourth of July.

“We texted,” said Megan. “I thought maybe she was on the same lake and maybe we could get together.”

But that reunion never panned out. Kelsey was at Smith Lake, celebrating the holiday. That night, according to the Marine Patrol Division, two boats collided on the water in the area of Wren Road just after 10 P.M. Five boaters were injured, four were hospitalized, and one has not been seen since.

Kelsey.

Officials have been combing the waterways since the crash, but have not been able to find her.

Megan, however, still has hope, and all she wants is to see her big sister once again.

“We’re just really thankful for the people that are trying to find her, that they’re still looking, and they say they won’t stop because we really want Kelsey back,” said Megan.

The operator of Kelsey’s boat, 23-year-old William Jackson Fite of Decatur, was arrested Friday on a charge of boating under the influence. He is currently being held in the Winston County jail.

23-year-old William Jackson Fite of Decatur, was arrested Friday on a charge of boating under the influence. He is currently being held in the Winston County jail.

Starling is the daughter of Alton Starling, who just retired from his role as Troy City Clerk and Treasurer.

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