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College Student Riley Strain Dead After Leaving Luke Bryan’s Nashville Bar: Everything We Know

College Student Missing After Leaving Luke Bryan s Nashville Bar Everything We Know 178
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

The search is over for University of Missouri college student Riley Strain, who was found dead on March 22, weeks after he went missing following a visit to Luke Bryan‘s Nashville bar, 32 Bridge Food + Drink.

The college senior, who was in town with his Delta Chi fraternity brothers for their spring formal, was last seen on March 8 after he was asked to exit the country singer’s establishment.

“At approximately 9:45 p.m., he was asked to leave Luke Bryan’s bar,” Strain’s stepfather, Chris Whiteid, told WSMV of Nashville. “They got separated. The boys called him, and he said, ‘I’m walking back to my hotel.’ They didn’t think anything about it.”

When his friends returned to their hotel about a half-mile away, they couldn’t find Strain, 22. They proceeded to call his parents and police before a search began.

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According to those closest to Strain, it’s out of character for him to not be in touch with their family.

“It’s very odd. Friday night when they got there, he had sent pictures, he called,” Whiteid said on the Tuesday, March 12 episode of Top Story With Tom Llamas. “Yes, we’re hurting and everything, but right now we’re still expecting a positive outcome.”

Keep reading to receive the latest information on Strain’s disappearance and death.

Where Was Riley Strain Last Seen?

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images

After leaving Bryan’s bar on March 8, Strain was spotted on surveillance video crossing the street with a group and checking his phone. He then stopped and changed directions for a moment before proceeding down the street behind the group, according to ABC News.

Surveillance video from 9:46 p.m. showed Strain walking alone as he stumbled down a street. An additional angle appeared to show Strain running and falling.

In a newly released video obtained by ABC News on March 18, Strain briefly spoke with a police officer on the night he vanished. Officer Reginald Young came across the student while responding to a car burglary on Gay Street, south of the Woodland Street Bridge, on the night of March 8.

Around 9:50 p.m., Strain walked by alone. The officer asked how he was doing and he replied, “I’m good, how are you?”

“No video has been discovered that shows Riley away from Gay St after the 9:52 p.m. timeframe,” police told ABC News.

What Has Luke Bryan and His Bar Said About the Disappearance?

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Mathew Tsang/Getty Images

After news of Strain’s disappearance began to make headlines, Bryan shared a statement on Instagram from TC Restaurant Group, which owns and operates Luke’s 32 Bridge.

“In our effort to help the Nashville Metro Police Department’s Missing Persons investigation of Riley Strain, we proactively provided detailed information quickly after his visit to our business on March 8,” the statement read. “This information included all security camera footage, photos of Riley at our establishment with detailed time stamps, transaction records, and staff accounts.”

The establishment also said they are communicating with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and providing any records needed to aid in their ongoing investigation.

“During Riley’s visit to Luke’s 32 Bridge, our records show he purchased and was served one alcoholic drink and two waters,” the statement read. “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. Our prayers continue to be with Riley’s friends and family during this difficult time and for his safe return.”

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What Has Riley’s University Said? 

The University of Missouri said in a news release on March 11 that school officials were quickly alerted that Strain was missing after having traveled to Nashville to “attend a private event.”

“The safety of our community is our highest priority,” the interim vice chancellor for student affairs, Angela King Taylor, said in a statement via NBC News. “Our thoughts are with Riley’s family as the search continues. We will be offering any support to them that we can, and we encourage anyone who needs help to reach out to our counseling resources.”

The Delta Chi fraternity, which Strain is a member of, also said they are “actively engaged” with university officials.

“Delta Chi is hopeful for Riley’s safe return,” the organization stated. “Our thoughts are with his family and the members of the Missouri Chapter during this time.”

What Happened to Riley’s Bank Card?

On March 17, two Nashville women uncovered Strain’s bank card near the Cumberland River.

“I don’t really know how we found it,” Anna Clemdening told WSMV-TV after discovering the card with ​​Brandy Baenen. “I would love to say just dumb luck divine intervention — it was just sitting there.”

Baenen added, “Something needed to be found. We found something. I don’t know if that’s something enough.”

Surveillance video previously released by police showed Strain walking in the wrong direction after leaving Bryan’s bar. His last known path ended where the credit card was found. There’s no evidence of foul play, according to authorities.

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What Was Riley’s Last Text Before He Went Missing?

The last text Strain sent before he disappeared was to a woman he was seeing, according to family friend Chris Dingman.

“She texted him to see how he was doing, if he was having fun,” Dingman said while appearing on the March 18 episode of NewsNation’s Elizabeth Vargas Reports. “He sent kind of a scripted text back to her saying ‘Good lops.’ She said she had to google it because she didn’t understand what that slang was.”

Dingman was also unclear on what the term meant and went on to confirm Strain spoke to his mom almost two hours before his disappearance.

When and Where Was Riley’s Body Found?

Nashville PD announced on Friday, March 22, that Strain’s body had been found eight miles from downtown Nashville.

“The body of Riley Strain was recovered from the Cumberland River in West Nashville this morning, approximately 8 miles from downtown,” the police tweeted. “No foul play-related trauma was observed. An autopsy is pending.”

Strain’s body was discovered in the water around 7:30 a.m. ET and taken by a medical examiner to be examined, according to local news outlet WKRN.

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What Was Riley’s Cause of Death?

Nearly three months after Strain’s body was found in a Nashville river, an autopsy report has been released providing new details into the college student’s death.

Strain died from drowning and ethanol intoxication, according to the report obtained by TMZ on Tuesday, June 18. Documents stated that Strain’s blood alcohol level was 0.228 percent when his body was examined, and there were “traces of THC” found as well.

The report concluded that there was “no evidence of significant trauma to his body.” His manner of death was listed as accidental.

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