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Riley Strain’s Mom Michelle Whiteid Shares Final Text Messages Before Her Son’s Death

Riley Strains Family Has 2nd Autopsy Completed After Preliminary Report Says Death Was Accidental
Riley Strain Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Facebook

Riley Strain’s mom, Michelle Whiteid, is sharing the final text messages she exchanged with her son before his death last month.

“He had sent me a text and said he was drinking a rum and coke and it didn’t taste good,” Whiteid told NewsNation during a Tuesday, April 16, interview. “And I said, ‘Well, you probably shouldn’t drink it then.’ And he goes, ‘It tastes like barbecue’ and I go, ‘Well, that sounds awful’ and he said, ‘It sounds good, but it’s not.'”

When questioned why she thinks the rum and coke, which typically has a “consistent taste,” had a different flavor, Whiteid confessed that she believes something may have been placed in the cocktail that is connected to her son’s death.

“Maybe there was something in it that shouldn’t have been,” she told the outlet.

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Strain first went missing on March 8 after being seen at a restaurant in Nashville. He was out on the down with his Delta Chi fraternity brothers for their University of Missouri spring formal. He later exited the establishment alone, per security footage, before making a turn away from his hotel.

Additional security footage showed that Strain also walked alongside a homeless man during the night, as well as interacted with a police officer at approximately 9:52 p.m. on the night of his disappearance, body cam footage showed.

Strain was later found dead in the Cumberland River eight miles from the city’s downtown area on March 22. At the time, the Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed to local ABC affiliate WKRN that Strain’s death appeared to be “accidental” with no foul-lay trauma. He was 22.

Days after his death was ruled an accident, however, Strain’s family requested a second autopsy after the coroner found there was no water in his lungs.

“One thing that threw the family for a loop was the coroner going on record with a news person in Nashville stating about the lack of water in his lungs,” family friend Chris Dingman told NewsNation last month. “It raises more questions. I’m not a crime drama person by no means but usually water in the lungs means that, you know, they were alive when they went into the water.”

He added, “The family deserves more answers than we have.”

Although autopsy results have yet to be concluded, the family held a Celebration of Life funeral service for Strain in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, on March 29, according to an online obituary. Attendees were asked to wear something green to honor one of Strain’s favorite phrases — “Green makes you look good” — and Strain’s favorite songs, including Zach Bryan’s “Something in the Orange,” were played at the service. A private burial will occur at a later date, ABC reported.

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“Riley embraced outdoor adventures, whether it was hunting, fishing or simply enjoying the serenity of the lake,” Strain’s obituary stated. “Riley’s competitive spirit shone through in tennis matches and his budding interest in the discipline of Jiujitsu. Above all, Riley cherished time spent with family, creating lasting memories.”

The obituary continued, “Riley Strain’s presence will be profoundly missed, but his joyous approach to life and the happiness he brought to those around him will forever be remembered.”

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