Daily searches for Birmingham teacher missing after July 4 boating accident suspended

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WINSTON COUNTY, Ala. – Authorities have suspended the search for a woman missing since a Smith Lake boating accident on July 4.

According to our news partners at AL.com, ALEA plans to continue searching the area during daily boat patrols, ALEA Aviation will conduct periodic searches from the air, and Winston County EMA will deploy specialty sonars the week of July 22. However, officials told AL.com there will no longer be formal daily searches for Kelsey Starling, 26, who remains missing after the July 4 boating accident.

Friends of Starling have set up a GoFundMe in order to help pay for additional search and rescue efforts.

The accident originally happened around 10 p.m. on July 4. Starling was a passenger in a boat driven by William Jackson Fite of Decatur, who was arrested on July 5 and charged with boating under the influence. AL.com reports he has since been released on $2,000 bond.

An underwater forest hampered search efforts over the past week. Some of the trees were reportedly between 50 and 60 feet tall, according to authorities.

For more information, visit AL.com.

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