Riley Strain Autopsy Raises New Questions About His Tragic Death

After the discovery of Riley Strain's body, a crucial and tragic detail has been confirmed about the case — there were no indications of foul play. At the time, an autopsy had yet to be conducted, per the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department's statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. But the subsequent procedure didn't point to a different finding. "The preliminary autopsy showed no apparent signs of foul play, and his death continues to appear accidental," a spokesperson for the MNPD confirmed to People in a statement.

Strain, a 22-year-old student at the University of Missouri, went missing on March 8, 2024, after getting kicked out of Luke's 32 Bridge, a bar in Nashville owned by country music star Luke Bryan. He was in the city for his fraternity Delta Chi's annual spring formal, according to a university spokesperson cited by USA Today. On March 22, 2024, Strain's body was discovered in the Cumberland River, approximately 8 miles from the downtown Nashville area. 

Despite the preliminary autopsy indicating no signs of trauma associated with foul play, Chris Dingman, a family friend, voiced his suspicions to NewsNation about the state in which Strain's body was discovered. "The only thing that was found with him, as the police stated in the report, was the watch and the shirt," he said, creating further mystery about Strain's tragic death.

Strain's family requested another autopsy in the hopes of getting some answers

Following the initial autopsy of Riley Strain's body, his family was left with several unanswered questions. According to NewsNation, there was no water found in his lungs, which is typically the case with victims of drowning. As noted by family friend Chris Dingman, this might suggest that Strain was deceased long before his body entered the water. However, there is a phenomenon called secondary or dry drowning, where inhaled water can cause the vocal cords to close, leading to suffocation despite no fluid entering the lungs.

Furthermore, Dingman emphasized that Strain's body was found without the pants and boots that he was wearing on the night of his disappearance. However, as a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department clarified to People, "It is not unusual for persons recovered from bodies of water to lose articles of clothing." Notably, his wallet also remains missing as of this writing, even though, just days before the college student's body was recovered from the river, TikTokers helped find Strain's credit card

Additionally, he only imbibed one alcoholic drink at Luke's 32 Bridge, per a report from People, and "did not appear distressed" to the officer who passed Strain on the night of his disappearance, as shared on X. Given the suspicious circumstances surrounding the case, a second autopsy has been requested. As Dingman told NewsNation, "The family deserves more answers than we have [...] I think there's somebody out there that knows what actually happened that night."