Friends of missing boater ask for prayers as search for Kelsey Starling continues

Update on woman missing at Smith Lake

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Crews are now using sonar and dogs in their search for the Birmingham City schools teacher who’s been missing for almost one week after a boating accident in Winston County.

26-year-old Kelsey Starling was thrown from a boat when it collided with another one on Smith Lake. One of Starling’s best friends was on the boat with her and she says time has stood still for her since that night.

Peyton Rose has known Starling since preschool and was on the boat with her when the accident happened on Smith Lake on the Fourth of July.

“It’s very hard to accept without knowing exactly where she is. We are all just waiting for her to be found and that’s hard,” Rose explains.

Each day there is no answer, it gets harder and with every text or call there is a glimmer of hope.

“I don’t want to accept that she’s gone so past and present it’s a hard thing for me which one I should be using,” Rose states.

As they wait, Kelsey Starling’s friends lean on each other holding tight to the memories. Some dating back to preschool. “A long, long time ago and we have been inseparable ever since,” Rose adds.

From cheering together to going to grad school together for speech pathology and now roommates in Birmingham. Peyton says Kelsey was her go-to person whether it was picking out outfits or just going to the grocery store, Kelsey would be by her side.

“She was just always there for each and every one of her friends and even strangers, no one was a stranger to her. She had the most contagious laugh in the brightest smile and brought so much joy,” Rose describes.

Sharing the memories helps the time pass. ”It’s just shock, it’s sadness you know remembering happy memories are all kinds of emotions just flowing through us,” Rose explains as they look through old pictures.

“Everyone needs some closure and comfort because Kelsey was, she was the best and we don’t want to sit here with anxiety and negative thoughts. We want closure that she is happy and peaceful,“ Peyton states.

As time ticks on, and even though questions are still unanswered, one thing is for sure - Kelsey’s love is still very much present and will live on through her friends forever. ”I’m praying every day for those divers. I do want to know and I want the peace and to not feel this waiting feeling any longer,” she explains.

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