Home News Body of missing Missouri college student found in Nashville river

Body of missing Missouri college student found in Nashville river


Robert A. Cronkleton
The Kansas City Star

The body of a missing 22-year-old University of Missouri student was recovered from the Cumberland River in West Nashville, Tennessee, police said on Friday.

Riley Strain of Springfield, Missouri, had been missing for two weeks after he was last seen about 10 p.m. March 8 when he was kicked out of Luke’s 32 Bridge Bar at 301 Broadway, a downtown Nashville bar owned by country star Luke Bryan, according to Metro Nashville Police.

His body was found in the Cumberland River in West Nashville Friday morning, about eight miles from downtown, Metro Nashville Police said in a post shortly after 9:30 a.m. on X, formerly Twitter.

No trauma related to foul play was observed. An autopsy is pending.

Strain’s mysterious disappearance captured national attention, including TikTok users interested in the case.

A bouncer reportedly did not allow Strain to stand outside the bar to wait for friends to close their tabs. A friend confirmed to The Star that he was taken out a side door and was gone when his friends paid and walked out.

A friend told police they lost sight of Strain after he was kicked out of the bar. Nashville police said they tried using Snapchat to find his location, but were unsuccessful. His friends tried calling him multiple times the next day, but the calls kept going to voicemail.

A friend called police around 1:45 p.m. the next day from outside the Nashville Central Police Precinct to file a missing person’s report, saying they were in town for a fraternity formal when Strain disappeared.

Police launched a massive search into his disappearance, including checking hospitals and jails and pinging his phone. Verizon could not get a live ping because his phone was off. The company provided the phone’s last known location, which was over a half mile southwest of a cell tower at 19 Oldham St., according to police.

Police used a helicopter and people on the ground to search the area, including a riverbank, with no results. The Urban Search & Rescue team also conducted a deep search along the brush and the bank of the Cumberland River.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it is investigating whether there were any violations, such as the bar overserving the college student.

Strain, a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity, was a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies and business. During the search, a vigil was held at his old high school, Kickapoo High, to pray for his safe return.

Surveillance video showed several images of Strain, including one of him crossing North First Avenue to Gay Street. Body camera footage released by Nashville police earlier this week showed that Strain had a brief conversation with a police officer that night.

The officer had responded to a vehicle burglary on Gay Street when he saw Strain. The two briefly greeted each other, and Strain did not appear distressed, police said.

On Sunday, police said Riley’s bank card had been found on the embankment between Gay Street and the Cumberland River. TikTok users were investigating his disappearance, and a livestream shows the moment one of them found the card.


(The Star’s Noelle Alviz-Gransee provided information for this story.)


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