TROY, Ala. (WIAT) — The search for 26-year-old Kelsey Starling of Troy who went missing from Smith Lake after a boating accident on the Fourth of July is still ongoing. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol Division tells CBS 42 that over a half dozen agencies are aiding in 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 younger sister of Kelsey. She still can’t believe what has happened.
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, a lover of life.
The two siblings were last in contact on Independence Day.
“We texted,” said Megan. “I thought maybe she was on the same lake and maybe we could get together.”
The reunion never panned out. Kelsey was at Smith Lake, celebrating the holiday. But that night, according to the Marine Patrol Division, two boats collided on the water around 10 o’clock. Five boaters were injured, four were hospitalized, and one has not been seen since.
Officials have been searching the waterways since the crash, but have not been able to find her.
Megan still has hope, and all she wants is to give her big sister with that big smile a big hug.
“We’re just really thankful for the people that are trying to find her, that are still looking, and 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.
Starling is the daughter of Alton Starling, who just retired from his role as Troy City Clerk and Treasurer.