After days of no news in the search for missing Backroad Anthem singer Craig Strickland, authorities made a helpful discovery on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31).

On Thursday, according to a tweet from Strickland's wife Helen, search crews discovered footprints, boat marks and dog prints left by 29-year-old Strickland, his now-deceased friend, 22-year-old Chase Morland, and Strickland's dog Sam. Helen Strickland explains that all of the markings are from Sunday morning (Dec. 27), when the trio first arrived at Kaw Lake in Kay County, Okla., for a duck hunt, "but this cuts the amount of search area by 50 percent."

A sonar-equipped boat and a search team has been looking for Strickland since Sunday night, after he and Morland failed to make contact with their families for 24 hours. A capsized boat was found just after midnight on Monday (Dec. 28), while Morland's body was recovered that afternoon. Sam was discovered, alive, next to Morland’s body.

“That’s a piece of hope that we’re actually clinging on to,” fellow Backroad Anthem member Toby Freeman says. “Dog being man’s best friend is a saying that’s so common, but it’s actually so true in this case. Sam’s an older lab and for him to make it in such harsh conditions – it’s just so amazing, and we’re clinging on to that.”

Fayetteville, Ark.-based country/rock band Backroad Anthem have opened for country artists including Chris Young, Gary Allan and Tyler Farr. They had a New Year’s Eve show planned in Little Rock, Ark.

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