Nashville Police Confirm There Is No Ongoing Criminal Investigation Into Riley Strain’s Death, No Foul Play Suspected

Riley Strain
Riley Strain

Case closed?

The Metro Nashville Police Department have confirmed there is no longer an active investigation into University of Missouri student Riley Strain’s death, a week after his body was found in the Cumberland River following a 14 day search.

After being asked to leave Luke’s 32 Bridge (Luke Bryan’s bar on Broadway), 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 last Friday, a worker on the river made the heartbreaking discovery of Strain’s body, still wearing the shirt and watch that he was last seen wearing when he went missing.

The Metro Nashville Police Department announced that a preliminary autopsy found no signs of foul play, and that his death appeared to be accidental, though the final results are still pending toxicology reports.

But the family also ordered their own autopsy, which was also conducted in Nashville – and they still have questions about his death.

Family friend and spokesman Chris Dingman appeared on News Nation this evening and spoke about the concerns that the family still have over the passing of their loved one:

“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.

It raises more questions. I’m not a crime drama person by no means, but usually water in the lungs means they were alive when they went into the water.”

And Dingman also says that Strain’s body was found without his pants or boots:

“Unfortunately the only thing that was found with him as the police stated in the report was the watch and the shirt. Everything else was not with him when he was found.”

Strain was reportedly wearing square-toed Justin cowboy boots when he was missing, as well as jeans. His wallet was also missing.

Dingman says that Strain’s family would still like to talk to several people, including homeless people and others in the area when Riley went missing.

“I hope that the ball hasn’t been dropped on this…

I think there’s somebody out there that knows what actually happened that night, and we would love for them to come forward. We need some more info.”

But according to Nashville police, they have concluded their investigation and have found no evidence of foul play, ruling Strain’s death a tragic accident.

News Nation’s Brian Entin confirmed the position of the MNPD, who said there is currently no ongoing investigation into the student’s death.

And while may have argued that the lack of water in his lungs is, in and of itself, evidence of foul play, a forensic pathologist from Strain’s home state of Missouri who spent 40 years as Chief Medical Examiner in St. Louis says that it’s not entirely unusual for a drowning victim to not have water in their lungs.

Dr. Michael Graham, who has reportedly examined “dozens” of bodies found in the Mississippi River, told KDSK that the lack of water in the lungs of someone who has decomposed for that long is not out of the ordinary. And he also said that many bodies found in rivers are missing their clothes due to the strong current, or even getting snagged on debris in the water.

Either way, unless something changes, it seems that the Nashville police aren’t planning on investigating the tragic death any further.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock