Cause of Death of Missouri Student Who Went Missing Revealed

The Missouri college student whose body was found in a river two weeks after he went missing from a bar in downtown Nashville in March died from accidental drowning, according to the autopsy report.

In a June 18 press release, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) said 22-year-old Riley Strain’s cause of death was accidental drowning coupled with ethyl alcohol intoxication, corroborating the initial findings by missing person detectives.

The department officially classified Strain’s death as accidental and closed the case.

Strain, a student from the University of Missouri, had been in Nashville on a weekend trip when he was last seen drinking with friends on March 8. His body was discovered by a worker in West Nashville on the morning of March 22 floating in the Cumberland River, several miles away from where he was last spotted.

Police at the time suspected Strain’s death was accidental and said there was nothing to suggest foul play.

The autopsy report concluded that Strain’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at 0.228. Delta-9 THC, a compound found in cannabis, was also detected in his system.

The investigation into Strain’s disappearance and death found that the college student had “multiple alcoholic drinks” while bar-hopping with friends on March 8. He later got separated from his friends and was seen by witnesses walking onto Gay Street, which runs along the Cumberland River, appearing visibly impaired.

Missing person detectives concluded that Strain, intoxicated and unfamiliar with the area, fell down the embankment between Gay Street and the river, which, due to recent rains, was very high with a swift current.

The river took Strain several miles downriver to West Nashville where his body was later found.

In its press release, the MNPD offered its “heartfelt condolences” to Strain’s friends and family.

After Strain’s body was initially recovered, his family requested an independent autopsy.