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Cause of Death Revealed After University of Missouri Student Found Submerged in Nashville River

Riley Strain, a University of Missouri student who vanished in Nashville after a night of drinking in March, died from drowning and ethanol intoxication, a medical examiner confirmed.

On Tuesday, the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office classified Strain’s death as accidental. Court documents stated that he had a blood alcohol content of .228, which is nearly three times over the legal limit to drive in Tennessee.

Riley Strain COD by Leigh Egan

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Strain vanished on March 8 after staff escorted him out of Luke’s 32Bridge in Nashville. Strain was in Nashville while attending a fraternity conference, and went to the bar with friends before getting kicked out for allegedly being too drunk.

He remained missing until March 22, when a building materials company employee told a 911 dispatcher that he discovered Strain “face down” in the Cumberland River while checking the dock.

Since the beginning, police have said that they found no evidence of foul play in Strain’s disappearance, despite numerous tips about the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death.

Surveillance footage shows Strain stumbling and falling around Nashville after leaving the bar. Then, investigators discovered that Strain had no pants on when found in the water, and no water in his lungs.

Sgt. Robert Nielsen with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said all vetted leads failed to substantiate claims of foul play.

Strain’s family subsequently arranged a second private autopsy, citing concerns about the absence of water in his lungs, which cast doubt on the possibility of drowning, after the first report listed his death as accidental.

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is currently investigating whether the bar served Strain too much alcohol the night he vanished. Staff claimed that they served him one beer and two glasses of water.

TABC and local law enforcement are also investigating whether he was served alcohol in other establishments.

Check back for updates.

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