Riley Strain Texted His Mother That His Drink Tasted Funny Before Disappearing In Nashville

Riley Strain
Riley Strain

Still trying to piece together what happened that fateful night.

It’s been nearly a month since Riley Strain’s body was pulled from the Cumberland River after a desperate two-week search for the missing college student.

The 22-year old from the University of Missouri was in Nashville for a fraternity trip when he was asked to leave Luke’s 32 Bridge (the bar owned by Luke Bryan on Broadway), and he told his friends that he was would just going to 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.

However, Strain walked in the opposite direction of his hotel, and was spotted on numerous surveillance 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 10:00pm.

The death was ruled an accident, and Nashville Metro Police have since closed their investigation, but the family says they are searching for answers amid what they say are still unanswered questions that they have about their loved one’s death.

Family friend and spokesman Chris Dingman appeared on News Nation recently 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.

And another question in the family’s mind comes from some of the last text messages that Riley sent to his mother before he went missing.

In an interview with Brian Entin of News Nation, Strain’s mother Michelle Whiteid reveals a concerning text she got from her son shortly before his disappearance:

“He had sent me a text and said that he was drinking a rum and coke and it didn’t taste good. And I said, ‘Well you probably shouldn’t drink it then.’

He goes, ‘Well it tastes like barbeque.’ 

And I go, ‘Well that sounds awful.’ And he says, ‘Well it sounds good but it’s not.'”

Whiteid says she’s now concerned that there was something in that drink:

“Maybe there was something in it that shouldn’t have been.”

Obviously there’s been a lot of speculation about whether Strain was drugged before disappearing, but as of right now we haven’t gotten any toxicology reports from the autopsy to show anything that was in the student’s system at the time of his death.

And it’s also not clear when this exchange with his mother occurred, or which bar he was drinking at when he complained about his drink.

Hopefully we get some of the answers we’re still missing when the toxicology reports come back in a couple of weeks. But until then, it seems like Strain’s family is still struggling with the circumstances surrounding the 22-year old’s tragic death.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock