HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Kelsey Starling went missing during a July 4 boating accident where the boat she was on was hit by another boat.
Starling was unaccounted for after the accident, and now three months later, divers from the Houston County Rescue Unit located her body Saturday in about 140 feet of water.
“We came up roughly 10-12 days after the initial incident, and conducted a four-day search on that deployment, (and) was unsuccessful,’ said Ashton Davis, chief and board president of the Houston County Rescue Unit. “We did eliminate several targets, came back home for a couple of weeks and regrouped. We went back for a second trip and of course then a third, and this being our fourth right at the three-month mark.”
Davis, who graduated school with Kelsey, said that the family was present for the last three searches, and it was important to the drivers for them to be there not only for the support but also to see they were putting in every effort to bring her home.
“It was a mixture of emotions from excitement to relief,” said Davis. “It was still saddening, reality set in that, you know, this is finally over, and we can finally bring closure to the family, but now it’s time to lay Kelsey to rest. So, it was a big, overwhelming emotion that came over everyone.”
In July, Kelsey’s sister spoke on those searching for her.
“We’re just really thankful for the people who are helping to find her and that they say they won’t stop because we really want Kelsey back,” Megan Starling said.
The Houston County Rescue Unit has roughly 16 active members, but because they’re a volunteer organization, different members went each time.
This time, six members made the trip, but Davis said without the effort of each member, this wouldn’t have been possible.