Riley Strain’s family reacts after Mizzou student’s body is recovered from river near Nashville

Police recovered the body from the Cumberland River, downstream from where the 22-year-old student was last seen.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville police recovered the body of a University of Missouri student missing since March 8 from the Cumberland River Friday morning.

Investigators confirmed the body as 22-year-old Riley Strain at around 7:28 a.m, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said. The body was found wearing the shirt and watch Strain was wearing when he disappeared. No foul play-related trauma was observed and an autopsy is pending.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” said Strain’s stepfather, Chris Whiteid, at a press conference Friday evening. “We’re quite thankful for everything you’ve done for our family, the grace that you’ve given us. It means a lot, more than you will ever know.”

“I just ask that you mommas out there, hug your babies tight tonight, please,” Strain’s mother, Michelle Strain Whiteid, said through tears. “Please for me, just hug your babies tight tonight … and thank you for sharing our story.”

A GoFundMe campaign was created to help Strain’s family cover the cost of hotels, food, travel and now funeral services. As of Friday morning, more than $65,000 had been raised.

Watch the full press conference here:

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University of Missouri President Mun Choi released the following statement:

Dear campus community,

I write to you with a heavy heart with the news that the search for MU student Riley Strain has ended tragically. After an exhaustive search by authorities and volunteers, Riley’s body was recovered today in Nashville, Tenn., where he had traveled to attend his fraternity’s spring formal event.

The university is equipped to assist you as you process this loss. Students can contact the MU Counseling Center for support. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program is available to faculty and staff.

The safety of our community is our highest priority, whether on campus or off campus. If you feel unsafe at any time, please call the MU Police Department at 573-882-7201 or dial 911 in the event of any emergency.

As the Mizzou community mourns Riley, we are keeping his family in our thoughts and offering support.

Strain’s fraternity, Delta Chi, also released a statement:

The Delta Chi Fraternity is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of our esteemed fraternity brother, Riley Strain. 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. 

The Fraternity’s Campus Assistance Program, which provides in-person resources and professional support, is available to our members 24/7 as they navigate through this challenging time. Additionally, we are working closely with University of Missouri authorities to ensure our local chapter members have direct access to campus support resources. 

We ask for respect and privacy for Riley’s family and our Fraternity brothers during this incredibly difficult time. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

Strain went missing after he was asked to leave Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge Bar in downtown Nashville. 

Friends with Strain at the time said they lost sight of him after he was asked to leave the bar and began looking for him. Strain’s friends tried to use his Snapchat location as a reference but couldn’t find him anywhere near that location. They also attempted to call him multiple times, but the calls went to voicemail.

Bar personnel and investigators have since reviewed security footage, cellular photos and transaction records to put together a timeline of Strain’s time at the bar.

“Our records show (Strain) purchased and was served one alcoholic drink and two waters,” the bar’s statement said. “At 9:35 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue through out Broadway exit at the front of our building.”

Security footage caught Strain on video crossing 1st Avenue North to Gay Street Concourse, the department previously said. The location is around an 8-minute walk from the bar toward the river.

Police attempted a hospital and jail check but said Strain wasn’t found there. A phone ping was also initiated, and Strain’s service provider was able to direct police to the last known location of his phone. Police didn’t find Strain there either.

This is a developing situation. This article will be updated with the latest information as it is released.

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