Student found dead in river two weeks after disappearance

By John Mercury March 24, 2024

A student has been found dead in a river two weeks after he was reported missing.

University of Missouri student Riley Strain, 22, was last seen in a bar in Nashville, Tennessee, which he was visiting with his fraternity house, just before 10pm on 8 March.

Police officials in the state capital, who previously said there were no signs of foul play, confirmed his body was recovered from the Cumberland River about eight miles west of the city centre at around 7.30am on Friday.

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said his “heart and prayers” were with Mr Strain’s family “for this very unfortunate and tragic accident”.

“We have reports that normally under these circumstances… with his height and weight, he could have surfaced between 14 and 20 days,” he said. “This is the 14th day. So we were really expecting to find him.”

Riley Strain. Pic: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department
Riley Strain. Pic: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

His body was found by workers, who alerted the authorities.

Police department spokesperson Don Aaron said a post-mortem will be conducted on Saturday.

University of Missouri officials said Mr Strain went to Nashville to attend a private event and a massive search was launched soon after he went missing.

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Investigators found his bank card along a riverbank and used surveillance footage to track his movements.

On Monday, police released footage of Mr Strain briefly speaking with an officer who was responding to a stolen vehicle incident on Gay Street – minutes before he was last seen.

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Speaking to reporters on Friday, members of his family offered thanks for people’s help and support.

“I just ask that you mommas out there, hug your babies tight tonight please,” his mother, Michelle Whiteid, said through tears.

“Please, for me, just hug your babies tight tonight. And again, thank you. Thank you for sharing our story.”


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