Tragic Details Found In Riley Strain's Autopsy Report

The mystery surrounding the death and disappearance of 22-year-old University of Missouri student Riley Strain has finally been solved. After three long months, authorities have revealed the official cause of his death, providing much-needed answers to his grieving family.

On March 9, 2024, Strain was reported missing by a friend, a day after he was last seen at Luke Combs' popular downtown Nashville bar, Luke's 32 Bridge. He and his friends were reportedly in the city for a short weekend trip, but that night took a turn when Strain was ejected from 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 management noted in a statement. "At 9:35 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue." One of his friends tried to leave with him, but his stepfather, Christopher Whiteid, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "the bouncers wouldn't let them out with him, that they were trying to get their bill paid."

It wasn't until two weeks later that Strain's remains were recovered in the Cumberland River in West Nashville. The police ruled out foul play, with Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake noting, "There is no evidence to suggest anything other than" the student unintentionally falling into the river, according to CBS News. Drake also revealed that he was found with his clothes, watch, and other personal items intact. The final piece of the puzzle was revealed on June 18, 2024, when the official autopsy report confirmed Strain's death was an accident.

Riley's death was found to be 'accidental'

According to the Davidson County Medical Examiner's office, Riley Strain died due to accidental drowning and intoxication, AP News reported. Despite the absence of video evidence capturing his fall into the river, the autopsy firmly concluded that no foul play was involved.

"After review of available investigative information including video surveillance, autopsy examination, and toxicological analysis, it is my opinion that Riley Strain, a 22-year-old male, died as a result of drowning and ethanol intoxication," medical examiner Gulpreet Bowman wrote in the report, according to KSDK. Ethanol intoxication, more commonly known as alcohol intoxication, occurs when excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed, leading to symptoms such as slowed heart rate, irregular breathing, confusion, and lack of coordination, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The official autopsy appears to be in line with the results of the preliminary autopsy conducted shortly after Strain's body was discovered. At the time, MNPD spokesperson Kris Mumford stated that his death was indeed the result of an accident. "Detective attended the autopsy examination," he shared with The Tennessean. "Continues to appear accidental." However, initially, his family had not been convinced. "If he truly fell in the water, and you can prove that to me, show me," Chris Whiteid told NewsNation. "I'll accept it. But I can tell you from all the stuff that we've done as far as searching, looking, taking pictures — I don't feel like it's really possible to happen. He may have fallen. Somebody helped him in the water."

His toxicology report also added clarity to his death

Coinciding with the release of Riley Strain's autopsy results was his toxicology report, which revealed the amounts of alcohol found in his system at the time of his death. Strain had a blood alcohol content of .228%, which is nearly three times above the legal limit for driving in Tennessee. "No Rohypnol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants commonly used for 'knock out' or intentional foul play were detected," missing person private investigator Steve Fischer wrote in a tweet.

Strain's family has yet to make an official statement regarding the release of the autopsy, but during a press conference after his body had been found, his mother and stephfather, Michelle and Chris Whiteid, extended their gratitude to everyone who made an effort to help them locate their son. "We're quite thankful for everything that you've done for our family," Chris said, as noted by People. "The grace that you've given us, it means a lot, more than you'll ever know." Michelle added, "I just ask that you mommas out there hug your babies tight tonight, please. Please, for me."