Search For Missing College Student Riley Strain Shifts To Cheatham Dam, Ashland City

WSMV 4, Nashville / Facebook

As search teams have focused on the dam today (March 20), other crews keep looking along the Cumberland River banks in Nashville.

Riley Strain was reported missing on Saturday, March 9th, following an incident where he was kicked out of Luke Bryan’s bar, Luke’s 32 Bridge, the previous night. Despite indicating he would return to the hotel, he never made it there, and there has been no contact with him since.

Surveillance Footage

Surveillance footage from Downtown Smoke & Vape Shop on Church Street captured Strain stumbling and falling in a parking lot at 3rd Avenue and Church Street around 9:45 p.m. Shortly after, at 9:47 p.m., he was seen crossing 1st Avenue North to Gay Street.

Strain’s last phone ping was recorded near James Robertson Parkway and Gay Street between 9:55 p.m. and 10 p.m. Detectives noted that Strain’s final phone conversation with one of his friends also occurred during that same time frame.

However, the ping covered about a two-mile radius and did not provide a direction of travel or further details about Strain’s whereabouts.

RELATED: New Video & 9-1-1 Call Offer Insight Into Riley Strain’s Disappearance



  • On Sunday, March 17, authorities revealed that Strain’s bank card had been discovered on the embankment between Gay Street and the Cumberland River during the ongoing search for the missing college student.
  • The following day, Monday, March 18, Metro Nashville PD released body cam footage showing an officer interacting with Strain on Gay Street, just south of the Woodland Street Bridge, on the night of Friday, March 8.

“Riley did not appear distressed,” the department revealed.

  • On Tuesday, March 19, Chris and Michelle Whiteid, parents of Riley Strain, held a press conference in Nashville, TN. Representatives from both Metro Nashville Police and the United Cajun Navy joined them, actively collaborating in the search efforts for the young man. The update streamed live.

“We appreciate more than you’ll ever know the outpouring that we’ve received from the community, from the press, and everyone else involved,” Strain’s stepfather, Chris Whiteid, said. “Our goal is still to bring Riley home. We feel that is still a very pliable goal.”

  • On the same day, March 19, the United Cajun Navy, a nonprofit agency known for its response to natural disasters, announced its involvement in organizing search parties. David Flagg, the Director of the United Cajun Navy, stated that they were orchestrating a structured search operation. Flagg mentioned that a hovercraft and pilot would arrive in town to continue searching the Cumberland River.
  • Today, March 20, the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office stated it had coordinated with the Metro Nashville Police Department, which requested a search from the county line to the Cheatham Dam. The dam is situated along the Cumberland River and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, approximately 42 miles downstream from Nashville.

Search Operations At Cheatham Dam

The Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the dam around noon and initiated a “basic shutdown” at the facility where the Cumberland River converges with Cheatham Lake.

Debris surfacing from beneath the dam provided crews with an opportunity to comb through it for any potentially relevant items associated with Strain.

Unfortunately, the search for Strain at the Cheatham Dam concluded for the day without any findings, as reported by the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews had been intermittently closing and opening the dam gates during the search efforts. The CCSO informed WSMV4 that the search had concluded Wednesday afternoon, with no plans for further searches in the area at this time.

Despite the focused efforts around the dam, nothing connected to Riley was discovered.

The search for Riley Strain continues, and anyone with information is urged to call 615-742-7463.

Riley Strain disappeared after leaving Luke Bryan's 32 Bridge in Nashville, Tennessee

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