(Updated) 2 charged with criminally negligent homicide in boating death of Kelsey Starling

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Jodi Wallace Suggs, left, and Nick Bowling Suggs, right (Winston County Sheriff's Office)

 Updated 8-22-19 at 8:56 a.m.

WINSTON COUNTY, Ala. Two people were arrested Wednesday, charged with criminally negligent homicide related to the death of Kelsey Starling, 26, of Troy. Starling was killed in a two-boat crash in the Rock Creek area of Smith Lake the night of July 4, 2019. Her body has not yet been recovered.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Marine Patrol Division Troopers arrested Nick Bowling Suggs, 50, and Jodi Wallace Suggs, 50, both of Decatur, after a Winston County grand jury convened earlier this week and the pair was indicted.

According to indictment paperwork obtained Thursday morning, Nick Suggs and Jodi Suggs were the operators of the boat that struck the boat on which Starling was a passenger.

Both indictments read: “….did with criminal negligence cause the death of another person, Kelsey Starling by striking the vessel she was aboard causing her to be thrown there from…”

ALEA said officials from the 25th Circuit District Attorney’s Office in Winston County will prosecute the cases.

Efforts to recover Starling’s body resumed Wednesday morning and will continue through Friday, Aug. 23, according to ALEA Marine Patrol Division Northern District Assistant Commander Sgt. Chad Pate.

Starling was a passenger in a 2012 Mastercraft wakeboard boat involved in a two-boat crash in the Rock Creek area of Smith Lake at approximately 10 p.m. July 4. The driver of the boat, William Jackson Fite, 23, of Decatur, has been charged with boating under the influence.

Starling Family Statement

Our daughter, sister, and granddaughter, Kelsey Starling, is missing and presumed dead since July 4, 2019, following a boating incident on Smith Lake. We appreciate the tireless efforts of law enforcement and search personnel to locate Kelsey. We also very much appreciate the love and support we have received from so many individuals at Smith Lake and throughout our state. We have been especially touched by the blue Kelsey ribbons that have seemingly appeared everywhere in Alabama and states beyond. This has provided our family significant comfort.

We understand that an indictment has now been issued in connection with Kelsey’s death; we will not comment on the indictment at this time. We look forward to receiving information yielded from the investigation that resulted in this indictment. The family will have no further comment on this issue at this time, as our efforts remain focused on the recovery of Kelsey’s remains.

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Kelsey Starling (Facebook)
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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com