Riley Strain’s Family Criticizes Fraternity Brothers For Continuing To Party In Nashville After Their Friend Went Missing

Riley Strain
Riley Strain

The party must go on.

Apparently that’s what Riley Strain’s fraternity brothers thought after the 22-year old University of Missouri student went missing in Nashville last month. And his family isn’t happy about it.

It’s been just under a month since Strain’s body was tragically recovered from the Cumberland River near downtown Nashville, and his family still has plenty of unanswered questions about what happened to their loved one the night he disappeared. And they’re frustrated with his fraternity brothers for not doing anything to help them get those answers.

Strain was in Nashville for a fraternity formal 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.

But apparently his fraternity brothers haven’t been much help.

During an interview with News Nation, Strain’s family revealed that not only have they not heard from his Delta Chi fraternity brothers and roommates, but even while they were desperately searching for their missing loved one, his friends continued to party in Nashville instead of helping with the search.

According to Strain’s mother, Michelle Whiteid:

“When we got there all the boys were out…with a police officer. We had to finish filling out the report, so we completed that and the boys stayed out for a while and then they all of a sudden disappeared, all of the boys, and they ended up back out a little while later in their dress clothes to go out to their formal that night.”

His father Chris Whited adds:

“We spent the next 4, 4 and a half hours searching every emergency room to see if he was in the hospital. We come back and they’re coming back, some of them, from the party and they’re waving at us as we’re sitting in the truck.

How’s that make you feel?

150, 160 of ’em on the ground there from all different chapters. And they told us that they were there, all of ’em were there, if we needed ’em. We didn’t know what we needed at that point in time, but you would have thought that they would have at least been out searching trying to do something.”

And the family says they haven’t been able to sit down with any of the fraternity brothers who were with Riley the night he disappeared to get their story on what happened – something that they would like to do.

“I don’t understand why they haven’t reached out to us wanting to provide information of that night. Maybe I’m crazy, but why should we have to reach out to them and beg them for information on a missing brother?”

The family has been on a desperate search for answers while trying to piece together what happened to Riley the night that he disappeared, and resolve questions that they still have about just what happened that led him to the Cumberland River.

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 Strain’s mother also has questions about a text that she received from Strain shortly before his disappearance about a drink that he said didn’t taste right:

“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.”

It’s not believed that he was at Luke Bryan’s bar when he sent that text, and the family has been able to piece together the bars that he visited before he went missing using Strain’s bank account information, which shows that he was at Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa, Garth Brooks’ Friends In Low Places, and Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk before they went to Luke’s 32 Bridge.

Unfortunately there are still many questions in the family’s mind, even after the discovery of Riley nearly a month ago. And hopefully they’re able to track down the answers to those and finally get some closure in the tragic situation.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock