Candlelight vigil supports Kelsey Starling search

Published 1:02 pm Monday, July 29, 2019

“I’m just looking around and I know Kelsey would have loved this,” said Megan Starling Sunday night at a candlelight vigil on The Square. The people gathered around were there to pray for the search for Starling’s sister, Kelsey Starling, who went missing following a boating collision on Smith Lake on the Fourth of July.

“It’s times like this that we remember that there’s a heaven,” Megan said. “Thank God there’s a heaven.”

About 100 people gathered on the Square to stand in solidarity with the Starling family as the search continues now more than three weeks after the wreck.

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The community has been supporting the family and friends of Kelsey Starling since she went missing.

First Baptist Church brought the community together for prayer the Sunday after the wreck and many residents have adorned their doors and mailboxes with blue ribbons to show support.

They have also helped to fund the ongoing search for Kelsey, raising $62,500 through 10 days on the gofundme account set up for donations. The account can be found at

Searches continue both by private and volunteer teams as well as law enforcement, although the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has indefinitely suspended daily searches. New equipment and teams continue to be brought in with the hopes of finding Starling and bringing closure.

The search has been complicated by depths of more than 200 feet in some areas of the lake and an underwater forest with trees towering more than 60 feet in height.

Kelsey 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.