Parents Of Riley Strain Speak Publicly Following Discovery Of His Body

WKRN News 2 / Facebook

The family of Riley Strain held a press conference Friday afternoon, following the discovery of his body.

Just hours after Riley Strain was found in the Cumberland River, his family spoke publicly at an emotional press conference. Strain’s parents and step-parents fought back tears and expressed immense gratitude to all those who offered support and contributed to their cause.

Riley’s father, Ryan Gilbert thanked all those who “helped keep Riley’s face in front of the camera,” and added, “You’ve helped us get some closure and let us take our boy home.”

Strain’s step-father, Chris Whiteid, echoed the appreciation and added, “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster… It has given us faith in people that sometimes gets clouded by what we are constantly hearing.”

David Flagg, Director the United Cajon Navy, extended his thanks to the media community who he said have been “very gracious and very respectful of the situation.”

The family did not offer any additional details of the investigation or the pending autopsy report during the press conference. Full video at the bottom of the page. 

Riley Strain
Kelly Avellino / WZTV FOX 17 News, Nashville / Facebook

Riley Strain was found deceased in the Cumberland River

After an extensive search that lasted two weeks, a body was found in the Cumberland River about eight miles downstream from Downtown Nashville. Metro Police Nashville confirmed that it was that of 22-year-old Riley Strain, the missing college student from Missouri.

The discovery was made around 7:30am on Monday, March 22nd by a worker who was routinely pulling debris out of the river in West Nashville. Officials from the police department as well as the medical examiner’s office were called and immediately responded to the scene.

Approximate vicinity where Riley Strain was located via News Channel 5

Police Chief John Drake confirmed that Strain was found still wearing his Apple watch and the distinctive black and white shirt that he had on the night he disappeared, despite one report that a homeless man was seen wearing it days later.

Riley Strain went missing after being kicked out of a downtown Nashville bar

Riley Strain was visiting Nashville on March 8th with members of his fraternity from the University of Missouri when he was kicked out of Luke’s 32 Bridge. The bar, which is owned by country music star Luke Bryan, stated that the young man was “overserved” and violated their conduct standards, which resulted in his removal from the establishment.

Riley Strain’s friends never saw or heard from him again after he left the bar. He was reported missing the next day, and a search began involving Metro Nashville Police, the United Cajun Navy, Strain’s family, and local volunteers.

The majority of the search for the missing student was focused around the Cumberland river after surveillance footage placed him in that area. His cell phone was last pinged by the river around 10:00pm and his debit card was found nine days later along the riverbank.

Police have not found evidence of foul play in the death of Riley Strain

At this time, investigators do not suspect foul play in the disappearance and death of Riley Strain. It is believed that the most likely explanation is that the young man fell down an embankment into the river and drowned. A full autopsy and toxicology report are expected to be conducted.

This is a developing story – check back for updates.

We are sending our deepest condolences to the loved ones of Riley Strain. Watch the brief press conference below.