University of Missouri student, 22, missing after he was asked to leave Nashville bar during fraternity trip


A family is pleading for answers in the search for a University of Missouri student who has been missing since Friday after leaving a bar in Nashville.

Riley Strain, a 22-year senior, was last seen Friday night by friends at a bar in Nashville’s bustling Broadway area, known for nightlife, Metropolitan Nashville Police said.

He was visiting town with his Delta Chi fraternity brothers for their spring formal, The St. Louis-Post Dispatch reported, but got separated after he was asked to leave country singer Luke Bryan‘s bar, Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink, his family told NBC affiliate WSMV of Nashville.

“At approximately 9:45 p.m., he was asked to leave Luke Bryan’s bar,” Strain’s stepfather, Chris Whiteid, told the station. “They got separated. The boys called him, and he said. ‘I’m walking back to my hotel.’ They didn’t think anything about it.”

When his friends returned to Tempo Hotel, about a half mile away from the bar, they saw Strain’s room key, but no sign of him. When they tried to call him, his phone was dead.

The boys went out to search for him, checked his Snapchat locations, and went through the other fraternity brothers’ rooms, but did not find him and called his parents.

Whiteid, along with his wife, Michelle Whiteid, traveled from Springfield, Missouri, to Nashville to search for him.

“We talk every day, multiple times a day,” Michelle Whiteid said. “This is the longest I’ve ever gone without talking to him.”

“We’re in a bad dream. Can we wake up? Please, just let us wake up,” her husband told WSMV.

Riley Strain (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

Riley Strain (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

Chris Whiteid told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that according to surveillance footage, it appeared that Strain was heading back to the hotel but took a wrong turn. It’s not clear where that footage was from.

Searches took place Monday including a helicopter search of Gay Street, the area where Strain was last seen, the riverbank and a ground search, “but to no avail,” police said.

On Tuesday, police shared surveillance footage showing Strain, wearing a two-tone shirt, crossing 1st Avenue North to Gay Street at 9:47 p.m. on Friday. That cross section is about 0.7 miles from the bar he was at earlier.

TC Restaurant Group, the operator and owner of Luke’s 32 Bridge, said it too was working with police to provide security camera footage and other potentially helpful information to aid in the search for Strain.

Strain is described as 6-foot-5 with a thin build, blue eyes and light brown hair.

A news release from the University of Missouri Monday said that school officials were alerted this weekend that Strain was missing after traveling to Nashville to “attend a private event.”

The school has been in touch with his family and Nashville authorities.

The school said counseling resources are available to the campus community.

“The safety of our community is our highest priority,” interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs Angela King Taylor said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with Riley’s family as the search continues. We will be offering any support to them that we can, and we encourage anyone who needs help to reach out to our counseling resources.”

The Delta Chi Fraternity said in a statement Monday it was aware that Strain was reported missing and the fraternity is “actively engaged” with university officials.

“Delta Chi is hopeful for Riley’s safe return; our thoughts are with his family and the members of the Missouri Chapter during this time,” the organization said.

Anyone who has seen Strain is urged to call Metropolitan Nashville Police at (615)-862-8600.

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