Police Say They're 'Doing Everything' to Find Riley Strain — and That There's No Evidence of Foul Play

In a press conference Tuesday, Nashville police officials offered their perspective on the ongoing investigation

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p>

Christopher Whiteid

  • Police are speaking out amid mounting frustrations about the investigation into the disappearance of Riley Strain

  • The University of Missouri student disappeared shortly after leaving Luke Bryan's bar in Nashville on March 8

  • Nashville police officials said Tuesday that their primary mission is to "find Mr. Strain and bring him home safely"

Over a week after Riley Strain's disappearance from a Nashville bar, authorities say that they are “doing everything” to find the missing University of Missouri student.

Metro Nashville Police Department Detective Anthony Chandler said at a news conference on Tuesday that police remain dedicated to following “several leads” amid an “influx of information” regarding the 22-year-old’s disappearance.

He went on to say that over the course of the ongoing investigation, "there has not been any evidence that has come forward to change this to an ongoing criminal investigation at this time."

Related: A Complete Timeline of Missing Student Riley Strain's Disappearance

Sgt. Robert Nielsen later clarified that because there's currently nothing "that indicates that there’s any indication of foul play," authorities aren't looking to waste "resources and time" from locating Strain, but that the investigation will shift if needed.

The Delta Chi fraternity member was last seen on surveillance footage just before 10 p.m. on the evening of March 8, a short time after Strain was asked to leave country music star Luke Bryan’s bar.

Related: Missing Student Riley Strain's Bank Card Found Near River in Nashville as Search Continues

New body camera footage was released Monday of a Nashville police officer briefly encountering Strain on Gay Street shortly before his disappearance. Strain “did not appear distressed,” when he encountered the officer, who was in the area in response to “a vehicle burglary call,” police said at the time.

During the news conference on Tuesday, police specified that they released that video after getting multiple calls that Strain was chased or being followed, which they say they've seen "no evidence of."

"We’re putting out everything we can to dispel all of those misconceptions," said Nielsen.

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Police went on to clarify the mission of the department’s investigation, which has been called into question online.

Nielsen said that a Nashville Police Department boat, along with members of its Urban Search and Rescue team, were set to patrol nearby waterways and “treacherous terrain” Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of the discovery of Strain’s bank card by two women on Sunday near the Cumberland River.

“There’s a lot of variables to these investigations, and if you’ve not been skilled or trained or experienced in these investigations, you don’t understand a lot of these things,” Nielsen said.

Addressing why they weren't the ones to find the bank card, which remains the only piece of physical evidence they have, Nielson said, “When we start a missing person investigation, we’re looking for a person, we’re looking for a body. We’re not looking for small pieces of evidence. Can we miss some things? Sure. But our primary goal is to find Mr. Strain and bring him home safely.”

Related: Missing Student Riley Strain's Last Text Message Revealed as Parents Express Frustration with Search

In an interview on NewsNation Monday, Strain’s mother Michelle Whiteid and stepfather Chris Whiteid spoke about their frustrations with the pace of the investigation. During Tuesday's press conference, Chris acknowledged that while it has been challenging, ultimately, "we know they’re doing their job."

During the news conference, police said they are “doing everything” they can to find Strain, while dealing with tips from the public that are “not actually tips” but theories “about what happened."

He added, “We love people calling in and helping us but we need actionable leads that we can follow up on.”

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