A college student was found dead in the Nashville River eight miles from where he disappeared
A college student was found dead in the Nashville River eight miles from where he disappeared

By Isabelle Stanley for Dailymail.Com

19:01 24 March 2024, updated 19:04 24 March 2024

  • Stamm went missing on March 8 and his body was found in a river on Friday
  • The Metro Nashville Police Department said a preliminary autopsy found no signs of foul play on the 22-year-old’s body – ruling his death “accidental”



Riley Strain’s death was “accidental” with no foul play, according to a preliminary autopsy conducted by police after the 22-year-old’s body was found in a river on Friday.

Strain went missing on March 8 after being kicked out of Luke’s Bridge Food + Drink during a fraternity trip to Nashville, Tennessee.

A massive two-week search ended when workers found his body in the Cumberland River eight miles from where he disappeared.

On Saturday, the Metro Nashville Police Department told News 2 a preliminary autopsy was completed and concluded his death was “accidental” with no signs of foul play.

It is still unclear what the exact cause of his death was, nor why Strain was in the river.

Strain’s family, who traveled from Missouri to Nashville for the search, shared the news that he had been found on Friday. His mother, Michelle, said: “I’m just asking you mums out there, hold your babies tight tonight, please.”

In a statement, Nashville police confirmed the body pulled from the Cumberland River this morning was that of the missing 22-year-old

Michelle Strain Whiteid, the heartbroken mother of Riley Strain, broke her silence at a news conference just hours after her 22-year-old son was found dead in a river eight miles from where he disappeared in Nashville

She echoed the words of her husband Chris, Riley’s stepfather, and the father of 22-year-old Ryan Gilbert about how much they appreciate the support from across the country.

“Please, for me, just hug your babies tonight. And thanks again. Thank you for sharing our story.

Although the family has previously criticized the police, Gilbert thanked the Metro Nashville Police Department for their efforts, as well as the volunteer United Cajun Navy.

“It’s just amazing what they’ve done for us,” Gilbert said.

Stepfather Chris thanked the entire Nashville community for their help in trying to find Riley.

“It was an emotional roller coaster. We are so grateful for all you have done for our family. The grace you have given us means so much, more than you will ever know.

“To the people of Nashville, I can’t thank you enough for the support, love and encouragement you’ve shown me and my wife,” Chris said.

Despite criticism from the family beforehand, Gilbert thanked the Metro Nashville Police Department for their efforts, as well as the volunteer United Cajun Navy

Stepfather Chris thanked the entire Nashville community for their help in trying to find Riley

“You have no idea how much this meant to us in some of our darkest hours.”

The Delta Chi fraternity member was in Tennessee on a trip to their annual spring formal when he was kicked out of the bar shortly after 9:30 p.m.

Earlier this week, his bank card was found near the Cumberland River and rescue teams were also seen searching a dam 40 miles from where he was last seen.

Stam had told his friends he would meet them at their hotelbut he was nowhere to be seen when the group returned from their evening out.

His friends tried to contact him but got no response and reported Strain missing as they were unable to locate him through his Snapchat location.

At a news conference Friday morning, Chief John Drake told reporters, “This morning at approximately 7:28 a.m. we received a call from a worker.

“As they were retrieving an object from the river, they noticed what looked like Riley pop up.

The medical examiner examined the body and confirmed that it was Riley Strain.

Authorities said no foul play-related injuries were seen on Steim, who was last seen on March 8

“We have made contact with the family, there is currently no sign of foul play as per the review here on the river bank.

‘Mr. Strain was still wearing the shirt he was wearing, he still had the watch. I want to say to the family that my heart and prayers go out to all of you on this very unfortunate and tragic incident.

Surveillance footage police collected from the Downtown Smoke & Vape Shop on Church Street showed Strain near the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Church Street.

The seemingly inebriated student was wearing a two-tone black and brown shirt and blue jeans and fell down, then quickly stood up and continued down the street.

Another camera captured him near the intersection of Gay Street and 1st Avenue North just before 10:00 p.m., taking large strides with his head down as he stumbled through the streets.

The student reportedly FaceTimed his mother, Michelle Whiteid, that evening, and she said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

His mother and stepfather, Chris Whiteid, have been in town since the search began, with Chris telling reporters earlier this week that the family had begun preparing for the worst.

Whiteid said, “Put yourself in our shoes. Everyone knows it. Everyone thinks so. Those conversations are starting to happen. It’s not what we want.

Michelle Strain Whitehead, left, and her husband, Chris Whitehead, speak to the media during a press conference earlier this week

Strain, 22, was last seen March 8 at Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink on Broadway, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Surveillance footage released by Nashville police shows him staggering and looking disoriented as he crosses a closed road near the water

“And I understand that people want to know how we feel. We feel disappointed, we feel hurt, we feel depressed. No one knows what happened to Riley.

His parents previously said cops had killed the investigation into his disappearance because more clues appeared to come from the public than from officers.

The parents’ criticism of the cops comes after TikTokers discovered a key piece of evidence that investigators failed to find more than a week after Strain’s disappearance.

Anna Clemdening and Brandi Baenen were rummaging through trash along the river bank when they found Strain’s bank card.

“My stomach dropped,” Clendening said, describing the moment he turned the card over to reveal Strain’s name. “My innate reaction was to be like, ‘Let’s keep looking.’

Officers have since defended their search efforts. “When we start a missing person investigation, we’re looking for a person. We’re not looking for petty evidence,” Sgt. This is what Robert Nielsen said during a press conference.

“Can we miss something? Sure. But our main goal is to find Mr. Strain and get him home safely.

Police previously shared footage of X showing Strain walking down the sidewalk past an officer who appeared to be checking a car with a broken window.

Another camera captured near the intersection of Gay Street and 1st Avenue North shortly before 10:00 p.m. takes large strides with his head down

Officers searched the Cumberland River and Dam for Strain

In a social media post Friday morning, the Combined Cajun Navy ordered all personnel to “clear all channels and stand down” shortly after news of the body’s recovery broke

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) shared video on Tuesday showing one of their helicopters flying over Cheatham Dam.

WTVF reported that officials closed the dam to check for any debris that floated to the surface, but found nothing related to Strain.

David Flagg, director of operations for the United Cajun Navy, told the outlet, “Somehow Riley may have fallen into the river and been swept away by the current. The current was very, very fast the day he disappeared.

In a social media post Friday morning, the Combined Cajun Navy ordered all personnel to “clear all channels and stand down” shortly after news broke of a body being found.

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