The disappearance of University of Missouri college student Riley Strain drew nationwide concern after he went missing in Nashville, Tennessee. The case caught the attention of media outlets and internet sleuths alike before his body was tragically found two weeks after he was first reported missing.

What Happened to Riley Strain?

Strain was partying with his fraternity brothers in Nashville, Tennessee when he was kicked out of a bar on March 8, 2024. The bar Strain was last seen at ​was Luke’s 32 Bridge, owned by country singer Luke Bryan. Film footage of the Delta Chi member after he left the bar showed him walking through downtown Nashville. When Strain reached Church Street, about a seven-minute walk from Luke’s 32 Bridge, he stumbled and hit his head on a pole in a parking lot. Strain lay there for a few minutes before getting up and continuing on his way.

Later the same night, bodycam footage from Nashville police officer Reginald Young showed him investigating a car break-in on Gay Street and interacting with Strain when he walked by. Statements from the police said that Strain didn’t appear to be in any distress. That is the last footage of Strain.

What Was Riley Strain’s Last Text?

Strain’s friends reported him missing at about 1:45 a.m. and a girl Strain had been talking to received a text from him that read, “Good lops.” However, no one has been able to decipher what the text could mean. Some speculated that “lops” stood for “low on power,” but a close family friend of the Strains, Chris Dingman, said that wasn’t the case because data from the cellphone showed that Strain didn’t run out of battery the night he went missing.

On March 17, 2024, two Nashville women discovered Strain’s credit card on the bank of the Cumberland River near Gay Street and close to a homeless encampment. After the discovery, some wondered if Strain’s case would shift from a missing person case to a criminal investigation, but a spokesperson for the Nashville police told Fox17 that they “do not have any evidence pointing to foul play at present.”

What Did Luke Bryan Say About Riley Strain?

On March 16, 2024, the bar and Bryan released a statement saying that they “proactively provided detailed information” that included “all security camera footage, photos of Riley at our establishment with detailed time stamps, transaction records and staff accounts.” The statement also said that they “proactively engaged in communication with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and will continue to provide any records needed.”

​Finally, the statement concluded, “During Riley’s visit to Luke’s 32 Bridge, our records show that he purchased 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.”

Riley Strain’s Family Enlists the Help of the United Cajun Navy

On March 20, 2024, Strain’s family held a press conference and revealed they were enlisting the help of the United Cajun Navy, a nonprofit organization that was formed during Hurricane Katrina ​and helps with missing person cases. Dave Flagg, the national director of the organization, stated that a hovercraft and an airboat were being brought in to search the river.

“Our goal is still to bring Riley home,” Flagg said.

Riley Strain’s Body Found

On March 22, 2024, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department confirmed that a body pulled from the Cumberland River was that of Strain’s.

“The body of Riley Strain was recovered from the Cumberland River in West Nashville this morning, approximately 8 miles from downtown. No foul play-related trauma was observed. An autopsy is pending,” a tweet from the official Metropolitan Nashville Police Department X account read.

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