Candlelight vigil planned to pray for Starling search

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 25, 2019

A candlelight vigil has been planned for Sunday, July 29 to pray for the family and friends of Kelsey Starling and the teams still searching for the missing Troy native.

The vigil will take place on the Square from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday as a time of prayer as well as a time to donate for the continuation of the search efforts. All proceeds will be sent to the Winston County EMA search and rescue teams.

The vigil is being hosted by the Twilighters.

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The community has rallied behind the Starling family and friends, already donating nearly $31,500 on a gofundme page for Starling in just five days. The gofundme can be found at

The donations fund the 21-plus rescue and recovery teams’ expenses in the tri-county area in this effort.

Starling was a passenger in a 2012 Mastercraft wakeboard boat involved in a two-vessel crash at approximately 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July. William Jackson Fite, 23, of Decatur, was booked into the Winston County jail Friday on a charge of Boating Under the Influence. Four other passengers on the Mastercraft were also injured and taken for medical treatment.

Members of the community have been placing blue ribbons on the doors of homes and businesses to show support for the family and rescue teams during the search.

A community prayer service was also held the Sunday following the crash at First Baptist Church, both for the family and friends of Starling and the search teams.

Payton Rose, one of Kelsey’s best friends and one of the other people on the boat, said Kelsey is the “light to everyone’s world.”

“She just brings so much happiness to everyone,” Rose said. “You can see from tonight’s attendance she has so many friends and she means so much to so many people.”

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reported that it was indefinitely suspending the search for Starling, but clarified that the only change is the end of “daily searches.” ALEA will still be hosting searches as new equipment and teams are able to come in.