Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024
alert-–-tearful-mourners-gather-for-riley-strain’s-funeral-wearing-his-favorite-color-as-questions-mount-over-student’s-suspicious-death-in-nashville-after-he-was-found-wearing-no-pants-or-bootsAlert – Tearful mourners gather for Riley Strain’s funeral wearing his favorite color as questions mount over student’s suspicious death in Nashville after he was found wearing no pants or boots

Family and friends of college student Riley Strain have gathered for his funeral, three weeks after his mysterious death.

The half-naked body of the 22-year-old was hauled from the Cumberland River in Tennessee on Friday, 14 days after he vanished in Nashville on a night out.

An initial police autopsy found no signs of foul play, but also none that he drowned, after leaving Luke’s Bridge Food and Drink at 9.30pm on March 22.

His body was found without the pants or boots he was wearing that night as he drunkenly stumbled around the city alone. 

Family and friends of college student Riley Strain (pictured with his mother Michelle Strain Whiteid) have gathered for his funeral, three weeks after his mysterious death

Family and friends of college student Riley Strain (pictured with his mother Michelle Strain Whiteid) have gathered for his funeral, three weeks after his mysterious death

Mourners arrived for his funeral at Greenlawn Funeral Home East in Springfield, Missouri , at 2pm on Friday

Mourners arrived for his funeral at Greenlawn Funeral Home East in Springfield, Missouri , at 2pm on Friday

A second autopsy commissioned by his family added to the mystery as investigators await toxicology results.

Mourners arrived for his funeral at Greenlawn Funeral Home East in Springfield, Missouri, at 2pm on Friday.

Strain was already laid to rest at a local cemetery at a ‘very private’ ceremony on Friday morning. 

He was supposed to graduate from the University of Missouri in May, business and financial planning.

‘No doubt he’s found his favorite fishing spot [in heaven],’ mourners were told by the funeral director leading the service.

Mourners wore wear green, as Strain often quipped ‘green makes you look good’, starting with when a relative commented on his green outfit. 

They were asked to ‘do a random act of kindness, listen to Drake (the rapper), buy a stranger a fajita, [or] take a friend fishing’ as a tribute to him.

Strain’s friend from Kickapoo High School and baseball teammate, Joey Cockle, recalled how they grew close warming up before games and on the bench.

‘Riley was my friend, my teammate, my day one, and most importantly, my family. I still can’t fathom that he’s not next to me as I stand here today. he said. 

‘Riley was a friend and brother I will cherish forever. He was always smiling and brightening the game.

Strain's high school friend and baseball teammate Joey Cockle held back tears as he gave a eulogy, promising 'I will strive to be the man you were and I know ill make you proud'

Strain’s high school friend and baseball teammate Joey Cockle held back tears as he gave a eulogy, promising ‘I will strive to be the man you were and I know ill make you proud’

Strain's family embraced Cockle after he finished his speech

Strain’s family embraced Cockle after he finished his speech

Cockle remembered the pair eating buffalo wild wings on snow days and their our countless attempts at mastering Spanish.

‘One lesson I learned from Riely is to always stay in the present and don’t overthink. Be in the moment and everything else will come. He filled the room with joy,’ he said.

‘I cant put into words how much I miss hearing his voice.

‘Without Riley I’m lost, but I know he’s always looking over me, in my heart and by my side… I know I will be with you one day.

‘I will strive to be the man you were and I know ill make you proud.’

Cockle was embraced by Strain’s mother Michelle Strain Whiteid when he finished his speech, and they shared a long hug.

Mourners then heard Strain’s favorite karaoke song, International Harvester by Craig Morgan.

Early in the service, one his his favorite songs, Something in the Orange by Zach Bryant, played and mourners heard details of his life.

They heard  about his love of hunting, loving to shoot any game animals, and was taught how to skin a pheasant.

Strain as a baby was one of many photos shown during a tribute video

Strain as a baby was one of many photos shown during a tribute video

Mourners were asked to 'do a random act of kindness, listen to Drake (the rapper), buy a stranger a fajita, [or] take a friend fishing' as a tribute to him

Mourners were asked to ‘do a random act of kindness, listen to Drake (the rapper), buy a stranger a fajita, [or] take a friend fishing’ as a tribute to him

He unexpectedly had to taxidermy the bird, and the stuffed bird was on display alongside skins from other kills, his bow and gun, and green plants and flowers.

Strain was also a keen angler, and the only time he ever got up early was to go on a fishing trip.

‘Riley embraced outdoor adventures, whether it was hunting, fishing, or simply enjoying the serenity of the lake,’ the funeral director said.

‘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.’

Mourners were told how Strain was never diagnosed with ADHD but exhibited some signs of the the disorder.

‘He liked to have things in their place and where they were supposed to be,’ they heard. 

Strain always knew if his mother had moved something when she was cleaning his room. 

Strain (right) with his parents Chris Whiteid (left) and Michelle Strain Whiteid

Strain (right) with his parents Chris Whiteid (left) and Michelle Strain Whiteid

Mourners heard how Strain was a big fan of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL and Dallas Mavericks NBA teams (pictured with his parents at a Chief game)

Mourners heard how Strain was a big fan of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL and Dallas Mavericks NBA teams (pictured with his parents at a Chief game)

Also included in the service were tales of how Strain always carried a case of water in a cooler in the trunk of his car.

When he was in school, Strain was a first baseman in a traveling baseball team, a state-level archer, and fell in love with tennis in high school.

He was also a big fan of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL and Dallas Mavericks NBA teams.

As well as his beloved trio of pets -Miles the golden doodle, Cooper the red heeler, and the German shepherds, Vikka and Vin – Strain was a devoted environmentalist.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Riley’s honor can be made to the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

‘Riley’s commitment to service was evident through the prestigious Presidential Medal for Volunteering, earned by dedicating over 500 hours to the Wonders of Wildlife,’ mourners were told.

‘This commitment showcased Riley’s deep care for the community and the environment.’

But that didn’t stop him eating them: ‘Riley could always eat his weight in crab legs, he just loved them.’

‘Riley had a passion for good food, from the comfort of his mom’s chicken Parmesan to the zest of fajitas at local favorites like El Rodeo in Bolivar and El Charro in Nixa and took particular pride in grilling a steak to perfection. ‘

Strain, 22, was  seen leaving  Luke's 32 Bridge Food + Drink on Broadway on March 8, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Strain, 22, was  seen leaving  Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink on Broadway on March 8, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department 

Strain’s family want answers on why he was missing his trousers, boots, and billfold when his body was finally spotted under a rock eight miles downstream at 7.28am last Friday.

‘Unfortunately, the only thing that was found with him, as the Police stated in the report was the watch and the shirt’ family friend Chris Dingman told NewsNation.

‘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.

‘So more questions, we hope to get to get some answers with the toxicology.’

The family also want answers on why he was missing his trousers, boots, and billfold when his body was finally spotted under a rock eight miles downstream at 7.28am on Friday.

‘Once again, one more question,’ Dingman said. ‘But unfortunately, the only thing that was found with him, as the Police stated in the report was the watch and the shirt.

‘Everything else was not with him when he was found.’

The University of Missouri student was in the city with Delta Chi fraternity members for their annual spring formal when he was kicked out of the bar just after 9.30pm.

Strain told his friends that he would meet them back at their hotel, but was nowhere to be seen when the group returned from their night out.

His friends tried contacting him, but received no response and they reported Strain as missing as they failed to locate him via his Snapchat location.

Michelle Strain Whiteid, left, and her husband, Chris Whiteid, speak to the media during a press conference to update the public about the disappearance of Riley Strain

Michelle Strain Whiteid, left, and her husband, Chris Whiteid, speak to the media during a press conference to update the public about the disappearance of Riley Strain

Surveillance footage collected by police from Downtown Smoke & Vape Shop on Church Street showed Strain near the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Church Street.

The seemingly intoxicated student was wearing a two-toned black and brown shirt and blue jeans and took a tumble, then quickly got back up and continued down the street.

Another camera caught near the intersection of Gay Street and 1st Avenue North just before 10pm taking large strides with his head down as he stumbled through the streets.

The student had reportedly FaceTimed his mom Michelle Whiteid that evening, and she said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Police previously shared footage on X showing Strain walking along the sidewalk past an officer, who appeared to be inspecting a car with a smashed window.

Homeless people living in an encampment on the nearby riverbank reported seeing a man answering Stains’ description stumble into their camp.

‘We heard a commotion. We looked back up. He almost fell over. The last bush right there caught him,’ an unidentified man who lives in the camp told WZTV.

‘He was very, very, very intoxicated. I never seen anybody stumble that hard before,’ the man said. ‘I yelled get up. They said, ‘He’s just drunk. He’s okay’.’

Concerns about the police investigation grew when two amateur sleuths on TikTok discovered Strains’ bank card in debris outside the camp.

A social worker reported seeing a homeless man wearing a shirt identical to Strain’s distinctive black and white one days after the disappearance.

His involvement appears to have been ruled out after Strain was found still wearing the shirt in which he disappeared, 

Nashville Police searched a homeless encampment on the water's edge after people living their reported having seen the missing student on the night of his disappearance

Nashville Police searched a homeless encampment on the water’s edge after people living their reported having seen the missing student on the night of his disappearance 

Amateur sleuths found the card as they searched the Cumberland River's steep embankment and the James Robertson Parkway bridge

Amateur sleuths found the card as they searched the Cumberland River’s steep embankment and the James Robertson Parkway bridge 

World-renowned forensic expert Dr. Bill Bass claimed Strain's pants 'would not come off by themselves'

World-renowned forensic expert Dr. Bill Bass claimed Strain’s pants ‘would not come off by themselves’ 

But his family were concerned investigators were not focusing on those people who may have been the last to see their son alive.

‘One of the people of interest, an hour after Riley was found, I was back at that scene and just happened to see that person,’ Dingman said.

‘And so we had a group of volunteers that kind of followed the gentleman. 

‘We called the police let them know that we had found him because we hadn’t been notified they talked to yet and was told by the police that you know, that was no longer Person of Interest

‘They had somebody else who were interested in,’ he added.

‘But we know from the homeless people that live there, that was the person that was supposedly on the road when Riley fell into the bushes or whatever happened, and he yelled back down that this was just somebody that had been drinking it was okay.

‘So once again, a little more confusion. I just I hope that the ball hasn’t been dropped on this.

‘I think there’s somebody out there that knows what actually happened that night. And we would love for him to come forward. You know, and we need some more info.’

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