A college student who traveled to Nashville vanished after leaving a bar Friday night, police say

Riley Strain, a 22-year-old University of Missouri student, was drinking with friends on downtown Nashville’s bustling Broadway thoroughfare Friday night when he walked out of a bar and crossed a nearby street, police said. He hasn’t been seen since.

Nashville authorities are continuing to look for the missing student after an initial air and ground search were unsuccessful, and they’re urging anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward.

Strain is 6 feet 5 inches tall, “with a thin build, blue eyes and light brown hair,” the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said in a post on X. He was “last seen at 9:52 p.m. Friday on Gay St. after drinking downtown,” another post said.

A friend told officers Strain disappeared after getting kicked out of Luke’s 32 Bridge, country singer Luke Bryan’s bar in Nashville, according to a police report.

“The bartender said he had been overserved,” Strain’s stepfather Chris Whiteid told CNN affiliate WZTV. “He was trying to pay his tab.”

Strain’s friends tried looking for him using his last known Snapchat location and repeatedly called him, only to get his voicemail, according to the police report.

When Strain’s friends called his parents to alert them, they drove to Nashville from Springfield, Missouri, to assist in the search, the report said.

Luke’s 32 Bridge said in an Instagram post Riley was served one alcoholic drink and two waters before security escorted him out.

“At 9:38 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue through our Broadway exit at the front of our building,” the statement said. “He was followed down the stairs with one member of his party. This individual with Riley did not exit and returned upstairs.”

Police searched the area, including a riverbank near where he was last seen on video, with a helicopter and by ground Monday. On Tuesday, the department released surveillance video it said showed Strain, wearing a two-tone shirt, crossing a street at 9:47 p.m.

Strain was on a weekend trip to Nashville with friends when he disappeared. - Metro Nashville Police Department
Strain was on a weekend trip to Nashville with friends when he disappeared. - Metro Nashville Police Department

Though Strain’s cell phone was off by the time police were looking into his whereabouts, Verizon Wireless shared the last known location of the phone was less than a mile from a cell tower located at 19 Oldham Street, according to the report. Police said they searched the area with no luck.

“Riley is going to tower and stand out in a crowd,” Whiteid told WZTV. “He’s got a big personality and doesn’t really know a stranger. He can walk up and talk to anybody.”

Bryan said in an Instagram post Tuesday he is praying for Strain’s safe return and urged anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward.

“TC Restaurant Group, operator, and owner of Luke’s 32 Bridge is continuing to work closely with the Metro Nashville Police Department to provide security camera footage and any other potentially helpful information to aid in the search for Riley Strain,” the venue said in a statement posted on Instagram. “Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones for his safe return.”

The Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission said in a statement it is investigating the incident.

“There are no specific rules or statutes that govern escorting out intoxicated patrons from their businesses or providing assistance in getting someone home. However, state law prohibits serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is visibly intoxicated. A violation is a class A misdemeanor. The TABC has opened an investigation into this matter to see if any violations have occurred,” Aaron Rummage, the commission’s director of legislation, policy and communication, said in the statement.

Strain was in Nashville attending a private event, the University of Missouri said in a statement, adding university officials are in touch with his family and Nashville authorities as the search continues.

“The safety of our community is our highest priority,” said Angela King Taylor, the university’s interim vice chancellor for student affairs. “Our thoughts are with Riley’s family as the search continues. We will be offering any support to them that we can.”

Strain’s stepfather said the disappearance is the family’s worst nightmare.

“He talks to his mom three or four times a day,” he told WZTV. “For him to go this long without talking is not normal by any means.”

“He’s my baby,” Strain’s mother, Michelle Whiteid, told WZTV.

CNN’s Michelle Watson and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.

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