A Complete Timeline of Missing Student Riley Strain's Disappearance

Riley Strain, a 22-year-old University of Missouri student, was found dead two weeks after he went missing on March 8

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain, the missing University of Missouri student, before he disappeared.

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain, the missing University of Missouri student, before he disappeared.

Riley Strain was found dead two weeks after he disappeared.

The University of Missouri student went missing after he was asked to leave Luke Bryan’s bar in Nashville on March 8. The 22-year-old was last seen by his friends at Luke's 32 Bridge Food + Drink, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

Strain was traveling with his Delta Chi fraternity brothers to Nashville for their spring formal, per the St. Louis Post Dispatch. However, after he left the bar around 10 p.m., his friends lost touch with him.

Strain had told them he was going back to their hotel, his stepfather Christopher Whiteid told the Post Dispatch. However, he wasn’t there when his friends returned and the following day, they reported him missing to the police.

Two weeks later, Strain's body was found in the Cumberland River in Nashville, the MNPD said in a statement on X.

From the night he went missing to the evidence that has since been released, here’s a complete timeline of Riley Strain’s disappearance.

March 8: Riley Strain disappears after he was asked to leave Luke Bryan’s bar

<p>Metro Nashville PD</p> A photo of Riley Strain released by the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Metro Nashville PD

A photo of Riley Strain released by the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Strain was going out with his friends to multiple bars before he went missing. Whiteid told PEOPLE that he was at a different bar when he FaceTimed his mom sometime before 8 p.m. "He was inside with his friends," Whiteid said, adding that the group was playfully "giving her a hard time because she was already in bed."

Eventually, the group ended up at Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink before Strain was escorted out of the establishment.

“During Riley’s visit to Luke’s 32 Bridge, our records show he purchased and was served one alcoholic drink and two waters,” the TC Restaurant Group, which oversees Bryan’s establishment told PEOPLE in a statement on March 15. “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.”

The statement continued, “He was followed down the stairs with one member of his party. The individual with Riley did not exit and returned upstairs.”

Whiteid told PEOPLE that Strain’s fraternity brothers told him they attempted to leave with Strain, but "the bouncers wouldn’t let them out with him, that they were trying to get their bill paid."

Strain’s family told WKRN-TV that their son’s last cellphone location was less than a mile from the bar, between Gay Street and James Robertson Parkway.

Twelve minutes after he left the bar, surveillance video saw the business student crossing the street at 1st Ave N and Gay Street.

Strain was last seen on video five minutes later, at 9:52 p.m.

March 9: Riley Strain is reported missing

Whiteid told the Post Dispatch that after Strain left the bar, he texted his friends to tell them he was going to the hotel. However, his friends were unable to find his location using Snapchat and their phone calls went directly to voicemail when they tried to reach him, per FOX affiliate WZTV.

On Saturday, March 9, one of the brothers ultimately reported Strain missing to authorities, and told them of his attempts to reach him, per the Post Dispatch. Police also attempted to reach Strain’s phone but to no avail. They also checked local hospitals and jails, but he wasn’t there.

The Delta Chi brothers phoned Whiteid and Strain’s mother, Michelle Whiteid, in the morning to let them know their son was missing. The Whiteids hit the road within 30 minutes, Whiteid told PEOPLE.

"I was literally getting ready to tee off on the golf course when my wife called me, and I turned around, went and loaded all my stuff off the golf cart, and told my friend that I was sorry I had to leave," he said.

March 12: Luke Bryan says he is “praying” for Riley Strain’s “safe return”

News of Strain’s disappearance reached Bryan himself, who posted his bar’s statement on his Instagram Story.

"TC Restaurant Group, operator, and owner of Luke's 32 Bridge is continuing to work closely with the Metro Nashville Police Department to provide security camera footage and any other potentially helpful information to aid in the search for Riley Strain,” the statement read. “Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones for his safe return."

Above the message, Bryan wrote, “Y'ALL THIS IS SCARY. PRAYING FOR HIS SAFE RETURN.” He added another slide to his Story, reposting a tweet that included photos of Strain and a number to call with any tips or sightings.


March 12: A surveillance video shows Riley Strain stumbling after leaving the bar

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain in a photo provided by his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid.

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain in a photo provided by his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid.

The same day, later in the evening, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department released surveillance footage of Strain stumbling while crossing the street. In the video, Strain crosses the street with a group of people and steps in the direction he originally came from before continuing on down the street.

"Detectives today continue to pursue tips & investigative leads concerning missing person Riley Strain, 22. Strain, wearing a 2-tone shirt, is seen in this video crossing 1st Ave N to Gay St (right to left), at 9:47 p.m. Fri. Have info about him? Plz📞 615-742-7463," the department wrote on X alongside the video.

A local business, Downtown Smoke & Vape Shop, also provided surveillance footage to WZTV of Strain stumbling and falling around 9:46 p.m. The police confirmed on X that they had a helicopter and detectives search the area.

March 13: Riley Strain’s family speaks to PEOPLE about the ongoing search for their son

<p>Metro Nashville PD</p> Riley Strain in a photo released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

Metro Nashville PD

Riley Strain in a photo released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

After they arrived in Nashville, Whiteid and his wife drove around to “every emergency room” in the area, but didn’t find their son or anyone who matched his description there. On March 10, they visited where Strain’s cellphone had last been located and were joined by other family members to look around the area. However, nothing came up.

"It’s killing us," Whiteid said. "Because we don’t know what’s going on. We can’t find him."

A detective assigned to the case told Whiteid that no one matching Strain’s description was found in the morgue or was picked up by an ambulance or taken to the emergency room.

"It wasn't good news, but it wasn't bad news," Whiteid said. "It was news that we still have opportunities to find him."

He added in his conversation with PEOPLE a plea to Strain, letting him know that they would keep searching for him.

"We're looking for you. We are not leaving until we have you. We're going to be with you at graduation...and everything's going to be fine," he said. "We're going to get you. We know you're out there."

March 13: Authorities begin investigating whether Riley Strain was overserved at the bar

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) launched an investigation into whether Strain was served alcohol despite being visibly intoxicated.

“There are no specific rules or statutes that governs escorting out intoxicated patrons from their businesses or providing assistance in getting someone home,” TABC communication director Aaron Rummage told PEOPLE in a statement. “However, state law prohibits serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is visibly intoxicated. A violation is a class A misdemeanor. The TABC has opened an investigation into this matter to see if any violations have occurred.”

TC Restaurant Group added in a statement to PEOPLE on March 15 that they were cooperating with the police by providing any information necessary.

“This information included all security camera footage, photos of Riley at our establishment with detailed time stamps, transaction records, and staff accounts,” per the statement. “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.”

March 17: Riley Strain’s bank card is found along a riverbank

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain in a photo provided by his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid.

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain in a photo provided by his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid.

Ten days after he went missing, two women, Anna Clemdening and Brandy Baenen, found Strain’s bank card along a riverbank “on the embankment between Gay St. and the Cumberland River,” per a post from the MNPD on X.

“I don’t really know how we found it,” Clemdening told NBC affiliate WSMV-TV. “I would love to say just dumb luck divine intervention — it was just sitting there.”

Baenen added, “Something needed to be found. We found something. I don’t know if that’s something enough.”

While the outlet reported that a body was found in the Cumberland River the same day, the Nashville Fire Department confirmed the individual did not match Strain’s body description. The police confirmed foul play was not suspected in Strain’s disappearance.

March 18: Police release body camera footage of Riley Strain talking to a police officer

The MNPD released body camera footage of one of their officers, Reginald Young, running into Strain on the night he disappeared. They included in their post on X that Young and Strain had a “brief exchange of greetings” and the college student did not seem “distressed.”

Young was posted on Gay Street in response to a “vehicle burglary call” when Strain seemingly initiated a conversation with him as he walked down the sidewalk.

“How are you doing, sir?” Young asked Strain, who replied, “I’m good, how are you?” Strain then walked away, while Young remained on the street for another 45 minutes, per the police.

Though the MNPD didn’t say what time the footage was taken, they reiterated that “no video has been discovered that shows Riley away from Gay St after the 9:52 p.m. timeframe.”

March 19: A message sent from Riley Strain’s phone on the night he went missing is released

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain in a photo provided by his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid.

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain in a photo provided by his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid.

Strain’s family friend Chris Dingman told NewsNation that the last text message Strain sent was to a woman he was seeing who asked how he was doing the night he disappeared.

“Good lops,” Strain replied, per Dingman.

The woman didn’t know what the message meant and even turned to the Internet, Dingman said. Strain’s mom, Michelle, said she was “not sure” who the woman was in a separate interview with the outlet.

“He’s got several friends that are female, male. I don’t know the individual he talked to at that time,” she added.

However, in a press conference the following day, the family said they didn't know for certain who Strain's last text message was to.

“We know that Riley was possibly texting and communicating with multiple people ... we don’t know the exact timeline or who the last person was," they said.

March 20, 2024: Riley Strain's mom reveals the last text message she received from her son

Michelle told PEOPLE of the last time she talked to Strain, and how he had FaceTimed her from what she thought was Garth Brooks' bar.

We FaceTimed for a while, he wanted me to see around, and he was so excited,” she said. “Then we hung up and he texted me and he was like, ‘It was kind of hard to hear you, but I wanted you to see what was happening.’ "

"I said, ‘Well, you boys be safe. Make good choices. I love you guys.’ And he said, “I love you, too,’ " she added. "And that’s it, that’s the last I have heard from him.”

March 20, 2024: Riley Strain's stepfather says his family are having difficult "conversations" as the search continues

Nearly two weeks after Strain first went missing, Whiteid told ABC News that the family were starting to have conversations about his fate that they didn't want to have.

"Everybody knows it, everybody's thinking it — those conversations are starting to happen," he said. "It's not what we want. And I understand that people want to know what we're feeling — we're feeling frustrated, we're feeling hurt, we're feeling depressed."

"Nobody knows what happened to Riley," he added.

March 21, 2024: Unreleased video footage shows Riley Strain walking toward a bridge

Strain's family told PEOPLE that they saw an unreleased video of the Missouri student walking toward a bridge several days prior.

"It was the last known video of Riley,” Whiteid told PEOPLE. “It was good to see him.”

Though the footage helped piece together Strain's path on the night he went missing, it is still unclear where he went after.

“We’re looking for that next nugget right now, just trying to find that so that we can move forward,” Whiteid added

March 22, 2024: Riley Strain's body was found in a Nashville river

Police announced that Strain's body was found two weeks after he first went missing.

"The body of Riley Strain was recovered from the Cumberland River in West Nashville this morning, approximately 8 miles from downtown," the MNPD said in a statement. "No foul play-related trauma was observed. An autopsy is pending."

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