Riley Strain Autopsy Released

Medical examiner says student died from drowning, intoxication
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2024 5:56 PM CDT
Riley Strain Autopsy Released
Kelly Granger holds a candle while looking out at the Cumberland River during a vigil for Riley Strain in Nashville, March 22, 2024.   (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP, file)

University of Missouri student Riley Strain's death is officially being classed as accidental, police in Nashville said after the release of an autopsy report from the medical examiner Tuesday. The report found that the 22-year-old died from drowning and intoxication, CNN reports. It said his blood alcohol level was 0.228, almost three times the legal limit for driving. He also had the Delta-9 THC cannabis compound in his system, according to the medical examiner's office.

Strain's body was found in the Cumberland River two weeks after he was reported missing. He had been visiting Nashville with friends and had been asked to leave a downtown bar. Police said there was no sign of foul play. Investigators "found that he had become separated from his friends and was noticeably impaired as he walked onto Gay Street adjacent to the Cumberland River on the night of March 8," police said in a news release. "Detectives have concluded that Strain, who was unfamiliar with Gay Street and the steep embankment leading to the river, did not realize the terrain conditions in the darkness as he stepped toward the overgrown area and fell down the embankment into the water."

The autopsy report states that Strain was found floating face down, wearing a "tan and black short sleeve shirt, blue plaid undershorts and black socks," NBC News reports. It said his clothing was covered in "a dense film of dark mud." It's not clear what happened to his pants. Police said the autopsy corroborates the findings of their investigation and the force "continues to extend its heartfelt condolences to Riley Strain's family and friends. (Relatives believe Strain may have been "helped" into the river.)

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