Craig Strickland's wife, Helen, shared on Tuesday, December 29, via Twitter that her husband's 9-year-old dog, Sam "wouldn't leave" Chase Morland's side until authorities located the body.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed to Us Weekly on Monday that Morland's body had been retrieved earlier that morning. Morland, 22, and the country singer, 29, departed for a duck-hunting trip in Kay County, Oklahoma, a region north of Tulsa, on Sunday, December 27, and were reported missing after they failed to return home.
Before their excursion, Morland -- who was close pals and frequent hunting buddies with Strickland -- wrote an ominous tweet that read, "In case we don't come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm."
The two were accompanied by Craig's beloved black Labrador, Sam, who was alive when authorities found Morland's body.
"For everyone wanting to know, Sam is fine," Helen, a former Miss Arkansas USA, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. "He was a brave boy. He wouldn't leave Chase's body until the Warden found him."
In past social media posts, Craig frequently shared photos with the canine. Almost a year ago, the Backroad Anthem crooner shared a selfie with Sam the dog from another hunting excursion. "Everyone meet Sam," Craig wrote at the time. "Thankful for this best friend I've had for 8 years.. He's an old man now, still brings back ducks."
Craig's dog Sam. pic.twitter.com/W09bACtsyy— Helen Strickland (@HelenWisner) December 29, 2015
Helen, who wed Strickland last November, also shared a photo of the pooch on Tuesday, looking up at her with his forlorn puppy-dog eyes. "Craig's dog Sam," she captioned the snap.
Craig remains missing, but his family has been holding out hope. "The search has been called for the night. It will resume again in the morning with a sonar boat. Still need prayers," Helen tweeted late Monday, adding in another post, "We love you Craig Michael. Come home."
We love you Craig Michael. Come home. pic.twitter.com/Qiym6OrPiY— Helen Strickland (@HelenWisner) December 29, 2015
The singer's father, Randy Strickland, has also expressed hope for his son's safety. "We are trying to think of a scenario where he is still alive," the dad wrote on Facebook in a post shared by Backroad Anthem. "Hoping against the odds. We can't even stand to think about it. We are devastated. Only God & time can put us back together. Love all!"
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