Riley Strain’s Family Holds Funeral After His Death at Age 22

Riley Strain
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Family and friends of Riley Strain are saying goodbye to the college student one week after his body was discovered in a Nashville river.

Hundreds of people gathered at Strain’s Celebration of Life funeral service in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri on Friday, March 29, according to an online obituary.

Because Strain, 22, often quipped, “Green makes you look good,” attendees were asked to wear something green and dress comfortably to honor the University of Missouri college senior’s love of life.

Some of Strain’s favorite songs, including Zach Bryan’s “Something in the Orange,” were played at the service, ABC News reported. A private burial will occur at a later date.

“Riley embraced outdoor adventures, whether it was hunting, fishing or simply enjoying the serenity of the lake,” Strain’s obituary stated. “Riley’s competitive spirit shone through in tennis matches and his budding interest in the discipline of Jiujitsu. Above all, Riley cherished time spent with family, creating lasting memories.”

The obituary continued, “Riley Strain’s presence will be profoundly missed, but his joyous approach to life and the happiness he brought to those around him will forever be remembered.”

Strain initially went missing on March 8 after being seen at Luke Bryan’s Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink restaurant in Nashville. He was in town with his Delta Chi fraternity brothers for their spring formal.

After Strain exited Bryan’s establishment alone, he made a turn away from his hotel, security footage revealed.

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Separate security footage also showed that Strain was walking with a homeless man during the night. He also interacted with a police officer at 9:52 p.m. on the night of his disappearance, body cam footage showed.

Strain was later found dead eight miles from the city’s downtown area on March 22. He was 22.

In an emotional press conference, Strain’s mom Michelle Whiteid thanked the community for their thoughts and prayers during the two-week search.

“I just ask that you mamas out there hug your babies tight tonight, please,” Whiteid said after her son’s remains were found. “Please, for me. Just hug your babies tight. Thank you for sharing our story.”

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The Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed to local ABC affiliate WKRN that Strain’s death appeared to be “accidental” with no foul-play trauma.

Strain’s family, however, has requested a second autopsy after the coroner found there was no water in the 22-year-old’s lungs.

“One thing that threw the family for a loop was the coroner going on record with a news person in Nashville stating about the lack of water in his lungs,” family friend Chris Dingman told NewsNation on March 27. “It raises more questions. I’m not a crime drama person by no means but usually water in the lungs means that, you know, they were alive when they went into the water.”

Dingman is hoping to get more answers with toxicology results and added, “The family deserves more answers than we have.”

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