Parents of Riley Strain Speak Out After Authorities Recovered His Body in the Cumberland River

Since his disappearance on March 8, friends, family, and the entire Metro Nashville Police Department searched for 22-year-old Riley Strain. Having mysteriously vanished after spending an evening in the city, officials worked tirelessly to locate the missing college student. And while they received help along the way, on March 22, authorities announced they found Strain’s body after getting a call from a worker who noticed a body in the Cumberland River. With the search over, Strain’s mother, father, and stepfather are thanking the community for rallying together to help locate their son. 

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While struggling to contain herself through tears, Strain’s mother, Michelle Whiteid, thanked Nashville for all the love and support their family received over the last few days. Although mourning the death of her son, she used the opportunity to offer some advice. “I just want to reiterate how thankful we are for everyone and how much we appreciate everyone’s support and love and prayers because we feel them. We’ve felt every one of them. I just ask that you mamas out there hug your babies tight tonight, please. Please for me.” 

[RELATED: A Timeline of the Events Surrounding the Death of Missing Student Riley Strain, Who Disappeared After Leaving Luke Bryan’s Bar in Nashville]

Calling the entire ordeal “an emotional roller coaster”, Chris Whiteid, Strain’s stepfather, also praised the city and those who supported them throughout the process. “You don’t understand how much that meant to us in some of our darkest hours. The hugs, the prayers, the offers. I can’t say it enough, thank you.” 

Family Insists Riley Strain Was More Than A College Student

For Ryan Gilbert, Strain’s father, he praised the police department for what he called “lots of sleepless nights.” Although not the outcome he wanted, he thanked law enforcement for bringing closure surrounding his son’s disappearance. 

Strain’s cousin, Jake Bradley, discussed the kind of person his family member was and insisted there was more to him than just being a college kid. He said, “That’s not — if you saw him outside of that, his love and his care and his kindness were of a five-year-old boy that loved every toy he ever had, you know?”

While authorities suggested “no foul play-related trauma was observed”, an autopsy is scheduled to take place on Saturday, with the results being released at a later date.

(Officials Confirm Riley Strain’s Body Found in Cumberland River, n.d.)

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