Riley Strain Dead at 22: Police Detail What Led to Discovery of Missing Student

Two weeks after he was first reported missing, Riley Strain’s body was found in the Cumberland River in Nashville. An officer detailed how he was found.

By Olivia Evans Mar 22, 2024 7:36 PMTags
Watch: Nashville Police Find Body of Missing Missouri Student Riley Strain

The family of Riley Strain is going through an insurmountable loss. 

Two weeks after the University of Missouri student went missing during a fraternity trip to Nashville, his body was found March 22 in the Cumberland River, eight miles upstream from where he was last seen. 

"The medical examiner office reviewed the body and we have confirmed that it's Riley Strain," an officer from the Nashville Police Department said at a press conference March 22. "The family has been contacted. There are no signs of foul play at this time."

Authorities added that the 22-year-old was still wearing the shirt and watch he had been wearing on the night of his March 8 disappearance when his body was recovered. 

"At around 7:28 a.m., we got a call from a worker on 61st avenue at a company that is near the Cumberland river, that had been searching for anything that would pop up on the river—especially Riley Strain if he would surface here," the officer continued. "As they were removing an object from the river, they noticed what appeared to be Riley Strain pop up."

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Riley was last seen following a night out with his Delta Chi fraternity friends, which included a trip to Luke Bryan's bar, Luke 32 Food + Drink, as well as Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk. 

At around 9:30 p.m. that evening, Riley was kicked out of the former establishment, according to Nashville police, and was last seen walking near Gay St. and Riverfront park. He "did not appear to be distressed," according to an officer who briefly interacted with him. On March 18, more than a week after his disappearance, Riley's bank card was found in an embankment near the Cumberland River.


He is survived by his parents, mother Michelle Whiteid and stepfather Chris Whiteid, father Robert Gilbert and stepmother Milli Gilbert as well as older sister Chelsea Strain and girlfriend Anna Pauly

"We are always thinking about him," Chelsea wrote on Instagram March 21. "So much love for my family."

Read on for more details on Riley Strain's disappearance.

Riley Strain Case

University of Missouri student Riley Strain was reported missing March 9 after being asked to leave country singer Luke Bryan's Nashville bar during a night out with friends.

After a two-week search, police confirmed March 22 that the 22-year-old's body was recovered from the Cumberland River.

"No foul play-related trauma was observed," Metro Nashville PD wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter March 22. "An autopsy is pending."

"During Riley's visit to Luke's 32 Bridge, our records show he purchased and was served one alcoholic drink and two waters," the TC Restaurant Group, which oversees Luke's bar, said in a March 15 statement. "At 9:35 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue through our Broadway exit at the front of our building. He was followed down the stairs with one member of his party. The individual with Riley did not exit and returned upstairs."

Riley's mom, Michelle Whiteid, said of her son in a March 19 press conference, "He's everything."

Michelle added that Riley's friends, who he was visiting Nashville with, are "heartbroken."

"He's their best friend," she said. "We love these boys like our own. It's just as hard on them as it is on us."

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