Luke Bryan Has Reached Out To The Family Of Riley Strain & Wants To Talk With Them

Luke Bryan bar Riley Strain
Luke's 32 Bridge/Riley Strain

As Riley Strain’s family continues their desperate search for answers, Luke Bryan has reached out to offer his condolences.

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.

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.

Early on in the investigation, much of the focus was on what happened at Luke Bryan’s bar before Strain disappeared.

It was initially claimed that Strain’s friends were prevented from leaving with him when he was kicked out of the bar, but TC Restaurant Group (Luke’s 32 Bridge) refuted those rumors and issued a statement saying that the student was only served one alcoholic drink during his time at the bar:

“In our effort to help the Nashville Metro Police Department’s Missing Persons investigation of Riley Strain, we proactively provided detailed information quickly after his visit to our business on March 8.

This information included all security camera footage, photos of Riley at our establishment with detailed time stamps, transaction records, and staff accounts. Additionally, we proactively engaged in communication with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and will continue to communicate and provide any records needed to aid their ongoing investigation.

During Riley’s visit to Luke’s 32 Bridge, our records show he purchased and was served one alcoholic drink and two waters. At 9:35 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue through our Broadway exit at the front of our building. He was followed down the stairs with one member of his party. The individual with Riley did not exit and returned upstairs.

Our prayers continue to be with Riley’s friends and family during this difficult time and for his safe return.”

And after his body was recovered, a family spokesman revealed that Luke Bryan reached out through his manager to offer his condolences to Strain’s family.

Chris Dingman, a family friend who has acted as a spokesman through this tragic time, revealed during an appearance on The Pascal Show that Luke has expressed interest in personally speaking with the family.

“Luke’s manager actually reached out to me, she’s reached out to me a couple of times. Luke has sent his empathy towards the family and everything, as far as that goes. Wants to possibly talk to the family. Understands with what’s going on right now with Riley and trying to get information toxicology and stuff, you know, it’s pretty much just left at that point right now, but they did reach out to the family which I thought was nice, the family thought that was nice too.”

Dingman also added that they have no information that anything happened to Riley at Luke’s bar. The student’s mother did express concern about a strange text she received from her son about a drink that tasted funny, but they do not believe that was while he was at Luke’s.

Strain visited three other bars before ultimately ending up at Luke’s: Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rose, Garth Brooks’ Friends In Low Places, and Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk.

While he was at one of those other bars, Strain’s mother Michelle Whiteid said she received the concerning text 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.”

There are obviously still a lot of questions surrounding Riley’s disappearance and how he ended up in the Cumberland River. But it’s great to hear that Luke has reached out to the family to express his condolences – although it seems that his bar played less of a role in the evening than we may have originally thought.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock