“I Believe It To Be Riley” – Heartbreaking 911 Call Released From The Discovery Of Riley Strain’s Body In Nashville

Riley Strain
Riley Strain


Last Friday, Metro Nashville Police confirmed the body of missing Missouri student Riley Strain was found in the Cumberland River in Nashville, two weeks to the day after he went missing while on a fraternity trip.

MNPD Chief John Drake said the call came in around 7:30 this morning from a company that works on the water and had been searching the river for Strain, and that he was still wearing the distinctive black and white shirt that he was wearing when he was last seen. There’s no word yet on a cause of death, but an autopsy is pending and Drake said that he expects it to be completed later today.

The discovery marks the end of a two-week search that has involved Metro Nashville Police and Fire, the Office of Emergency Management, along with volunteers from the United Cajun Navy as well as concerned citizens who came out to help locate the missing 22-year old.

Strain was last seen by his friends after being asked to leave Luke’s 32 Bridge, which is the bar owned by Luke Bryan on Broadway in downtown Nashville.

After being asked to leave the bar, Strain’s friends called him, but he told them he would just walk back to their hotel. The group was staying at the Tempo Hotel, which is just off of Broadway on 8th Avenue, and just a few blocks from Luke’s bar.

But for some reason, it appears that Strain walked in the opposite direction of his hotel. The student was seen on several videos walking towards the river in downtown Nashville, and the last location that his phone pinged was near the James Robertson Parkway Bridge, near the Davidson County Courthouse at around 9:53 pm.

Search crews had seemed to be concentrating their efforts on the river throughout the search, especially after his debit card was found on an embankment near his last known location.

And now, we’re hearing the heartbreaking 911 call that was made after a worker on the river found his body.

In the 3 minute call, the worker describes finding Strain as he was working – and it sounds like he knew immediately who it was:

“My company works on the river. I have just found a dead body. I believe it to be Riley.”

The man says that his company unloads barges on the river and that he was checking around his dock when he made the tragic discovery:

“It’s definitely got a person’s hair, black shirt, kinda white, muddy looking on the front, it’s face down in the water.”

And he says that he had to move debris from Strain’s fully-submerged body to confirm what he found, while also requesting that only police and rescue personnel respond to the call (likely knowing that once word got out the chaos that would ensue).

It’s a heartbreaking call, but one that was at least able to provide closure to Strain’s family after a long two-week search.

@bnc_news BREAKING: THEY HAVE JUST RELEASED THE 911 CALL THE WORKER MADE WHO FOUND RILEY STRAINS BODY! #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo #breakingnews #fyp #rileystrain #found #missing #update #nashville #tennessee #cumberlandriver #new ♬ News, news, seriousness, tension(1077866) – Lyrebirds music

“Hug Your Babies Tight”

Strain’s mom, Michelle Whiteid, released a brief, but heartbreaking statement after their 22-year-old son’s body was found in the Cumberland River.

“I just ask that you mommas out there hug your babies tight tonight, please. Please for me, hug your babies tight tonight.”

His father Ryan Gilbert thanked Metro Nashville Police Department, the United Cajun Navy, friends, family, and memebers of the community for their help with the search efforts:

“It’s just unbelievable what they’ve done for us. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster. We’re quite thankful for everything that you’ve done for our family. The grace that you’ve given us, it means a lot, more than you’ll ever know.

To the people of Nashville, I can’t thank you enough for the support, the love, the encouragement that you’ve shown myself and my wife. You don’t understand how much that meant to us in some of our darkest hours.”

RIP Riley.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock