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Death of college student Riley Strain 'appears accidental,' Nashville police say

The death of Riley Strain, a University of Missouri student visiting Nashville, was likely an accident, according to police.

Strain, 22, was found dead in the Cumberland River on Friday following an extensive search that drew national interest. Investigators conducted a preliminary autopsy shortly afterward.

“Detective attended the autopsy examination,” police told the Nashville Tennessean on Sunday. “Continues to appear accidental.”

Strain was last seen alive on March 8, after he had been kicked out of country singer Luke Bryan’s bar in downtown Nashville and told his friends he would walk back to their hotel. However, surveillance cameras captured him walking in the wrong direction about one mile from the bar.

The bar, Luke’s 32 Bridge, claimed Strain purchased a single alcoholic beverage and two waters while inside. Police have not revealed any results from a toxicology screening.

Strain appeared to stumble at times while walking down the street, though he had an unremarkable interaction with a police officer that was captured on body-camera footage.

On March 17, two women who had joined the search for Strain found his bank card near the Cumberland River. Five days later, a man working along the river found Strain’s body in the water.

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said evidence pointed to Strain falling into the river, and “no foul play-related trauma was observed.”

“I just ask that you mamas out there hug your babies tight tonight, please,” Strain’s mother, Michelle Whiteid, said at a press conference after her son’s body was found. “Please for me, hug your babies tight.”