Missing University of Missouri Student Found Dead in Nashville

Riley Strain, a 22-year-old University of Missouri senior, was found dead in the Cumberland River, in Nashville, Tenn. on Friday, March 22.

“There is nothing to suggest any foul play at all,” said Nashville Chief of Police, John Drake, in a press conference after Strain’s body was found.

14 days earlier, on Friday, March 8, Strain was last seen by his friends when asked to leave Luke’s 32 Bridge bar and restaurant on Broadway Street.

The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) released surveillance footage videos showing Strain after he departed from the venue. Strain was last seen in footage at 9:52 p.m. on March 8, after drinking downtown, according to a statement from the MNPD.

One video shows Strain running down the street. He runs into a sign and falls to the ground. After standing up, he continues to hunch over and stumble down the street, bringing his hand to his head multiple times.

Dr. Mun Y. Choi, President of the University of Missouri made a statement to the university after Strain’s body was located. According to the statement, Strain was traveling to Nashville for his fraternity’s spring formal.

“It was very impactful as a college student to hear about this situation as it hit very close to home. Thinking an event like this could occur to any of my friends on spring break in Nashville or truthfully anywhere is very unsettling to imagine,” said junior Siobhan Reidy.

“It is also eye-opening as it prompts difficult conversations about the realities of overconsumption and the dangers in today’s world,” she said.

Aside from the surveillance videos, Strain’s bank card was found near the river on March 17. This is one of the few developments that occurred prior to locating Strain’s body five days later.

A post on X (formerly known as Twitter) from the MNPD states that “Riley Strain’s bank card was discovered this afternoon on the embankment between Gay St. and the Cumberland River.”

According to a statement from the TC Restaurant Group and Luke’s 32 Bridge posted on Instagram, Strain was only served one alcoholic beverage from their establishment. He was removed because he failed to follow the venue’s conduct standards.

Although he was allegedly only served one alcoholic drink from Luke’s 32 Bridge, it is unclear how much Strain had to drink or whether he consumed any drugs that day.

“Not to jump to conclusions on this case, but it seems kind of unlikely that Riley was simply intoxicated from excess alcohol consumption given his demeanor in some of the video evidence I have seen,” Reidy said. “It is possible he could have been drugged, but even if he wasn’t, this is a real issue that can be prevented with proper precautions.”

Senior Briella Novella visited Nashville for a spring break trip with other students from Sacred Heart University. She returned home from the trip on March 4, only 4 days prior to Strain’s disappearance.

Novella said, “I’d advise someone going on a trip with college friends to stay together and look out for each other. Also, never put your drink down and make sure you get it directly from the bartender.”

A press release from the Delta Chi fraternity headquarters stated, “Our hearts go out to Riley’s family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time as we work to provide support and resources to all those affected by this tragedy.”

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