Preliminary Reports Indicate Riley Strain’s Official Cause Of Death

WZTV FOX 17 News, Nashville / Facebook

Riley Strain’s family finally has answers after weeks of waiting for closure.

Three months ago, on March 8, Mizzou student Riley Strain disappeared after being kicked out of Luke Bryan’s downtown Nashville bar. Strain’s family, friends, and volunteers extensively searched the city for two weeks.

On March 22, two weeks after Strain’s disappearance, his body was discovered in the Cumberland River, roughly 8 miles from where he was last seen on surveillance footage.


The case has been shrouded in mystery since Riley disappeared, and the discovery of his body only added to the questions. The 22-year-old’s debit card was found on the river bank prior to the discovery of his body. When he was recovered from the river, his pants, belt, and boots were missing.

Riley Strain with his mom, Michelle Whiteid.
NewsChannel 5 Nashville / Facebook

The initial autopsy revealed that there was no water in Riley’s lungs when he was found, a finding that the family felt indicated that he was deceased when he entered the water. As a result, they ordered a second autopsy.

In the weeks since, Riley’s family continued to seek answers. In interviews and media appearances, they shared suspicions that their son may have been overserved or drugged while visiting some of Music City’s many bars. There was also suspicion that Riley may have been robbed and/or injured while wandering through the city’s homeless community near the river.

According to News Channel 5’s Nick Beres, Riley Strain’s autopsy and toxicology reports are complete and are expected to be released to the public next week.

Riley Strain's mom recalled their final conversation before he went missing on March 8th
WZTV FOX 17 News, Nashville / Facebook

Beres shared Thursday, June 6, that a source close to the investigation said that the official cause of death for Riley Strain was accidental drowning.

“I’ve learned it took a while, but toxicology is now back and with the completed autopsy all indications are what happened was an accidental death and drowning,” Beres wrote. “No evidence of trauma or that Strain had been drugged and no sign he the was victim of a crime.”

The reporter added that some new information was recently received by the medical examiner, but that information should not change the results unless there are surprising new developments.


The upcoming release of the long-awaited toxicology and autopsy results may not be the end of this story. A few weeks ago, Riley Strain’s family detained high-profile Nashville law firm, Morgan and Morgan, leading to speculation about impending lawsuits.

Read Nick Beres’ full post regarding Riley Strain’s toxicology and autopsy reports below.