News

Actions

New video, 911 call give more details into the night Riley Strain disappeared in Nashville

Riley Strain
Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 13, 2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For five days, investigators have searched low along the banks of the Cumberland River and put his picture high up on billboards — but there's still no sign of college student Riley Strain.

But new video and a 911 call could give a few more details about the night the University of Missouri senior disappeared in Downtown Nashville.

Employees at Music City Wine and Spirits, located on Church Street, heard about the missing 22-year-old but didn't think to check their surveillance cameras until a construction worker — and then Riley's own mother — asked them to check.

"We were able to go back on the cameras at that time and look at the picture more clearly and see it was the kid that was missing," said Sherief Gerges, who works at the store.

New Camera Angle

Sure enough, they discovered they had two angles of Riley making his way around Third Avenue onto Church Street. The first angle shows Riley almost running down the sidewalk until he stumbles and collides with a pole. He remains on the ground for a moment and then stands back up. You can watch the clip in the player above.

The second angle shows Riley struggling to continue down Church Street. A third angle from a Metro Police camera shows Riley crossing First Avenue where Church Street turns into Gay Street near the river. Riley can be seen looking around for a moment, before continuing towards the river.

That was the last time Riley was shown on camera, but according to his family, his phone showed his location moving up Gay Street towards the James Robertson Parkway Bridge before the signal stopped.

Gerges says working in the heart of downtown, he's used to seeing people struggle to walk down the street. There's just one key difference.

"Usually someone is with that person to help them," he said. "They usually have someone with them to guide them, call them an Uber, take them to a hotel. Not just let them be."

911 Call

Saturday afternoon, about 16 hours after Riley was last seen, some of his friends came to the Central Precinct on Korean Veterans Parkway, hoping to report him missing. When they couldn't get into the lobby, that's when they called 911.

"Okay, what is his name?" asked the 911 operator. Brayden Baltz, one of Riley's friends, replied, "His name is Riley Strain."

"What color clothing was he last seen wearing?" asked the operator.

"He was wearing jeans, boots and a black — half black shirt, half brown, light brown," replied Baltz.

So what took so long for the 911 call?

Riley was walking alone Friday night because he was asked to leave by Luke's 32 Bridge, a bar owned by country music singer Luke Bryan. For some reason, none of Riley's fraternity brothers followed him as he planned to head back to his hotel.

According to Riley's family, his fraternity brothers didn't realize Riley never made it back to the hotel until early Saturday morning. The next morning, his friends started searching and stopped by the Davidson County Sheriff's office first, before being re-directed to Metro Police. The friends evidently called Riley's parents about the disappearance around 10:30 am Saturday.

Community Reaction and Police Guidance

Mackenzie Mcguire says she is visiting Nashville and was also out that Friday night.

"We were all looking through our phones, looking...at our photos from that night...to see if we could see anything from the street," she said.

She never saw Riley, but she wishes they were able to intervene.

"We could've definitely helped that night. We could've approached him, we could've called the police, we could've called an Uber, we could've found his friends..."

Metro Police say you can do all of the above if you feel comfortable. If you don't, find a nearby police officer or security guard to help. If you're not able to, you can always call the non-emergency line at 615-862-8600.

Mcguire said while staying in groups in a common practice among women, it's important and can be life changing for anyone.

"We know we need to stick together," she said.

"In the middle of having fun, you can put fun on hold to make sure that someone gets to where they need to go," added Andrea Baugh from Nashville.

TABC Investigation and River Searches

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission confirmed to NewsChannel 5 that they are launching an investigation into Luke's 32 Bridge. They want to see if bartenders there may have over served Riley before they asked him to leave.

Nashville's Office of Emergency Management confirmed, despite searching by boat for Riley on Tuesday, their services were not requested on Wednesday.

Anyone with any information about where Riley might be is urged to call Metro Police.

We have been following Riley's disappearance since the beginning. If you want to see our previous reports, watch the videos below.

We spoke with Riley's parents the day after he was reported lost.

Missing 22-year-old Riley Strain last seen Friday night on Broadway

We shared new video released of Riley walking across Church Street towards the Cumberland River, where Emergency officials searched for Riley on Tuesday.

Emergency crews search Cumberland River for missing college senior Riley Strain

New filing alleges connection between MNPD whistleblower, Covenant records leak

The back and forth over the legal release of the Covenant School shooter's writings amid new leaks is growing more complex by the day. If you are looking to understand the issues at play, Chris Davis provides clarity and insight in his reporting. And may we never forget who is at the center of all this – the six victims who lost their lives in the most senseless way.

-Carrie Sharp