Top Forensic Expert Claims That Riley Strain Was Likely Murdered as He Says Student's Pants Were Possibly Taken Off By Someone Else

The family is also seeking clarification on why Strain was without his trousers, boots, and billfold when his body was eventually located under a rock.

A forensic expert has joined the chorus of concerns regarding Riley Strain's final moments after his body was found in the Cumberland River in Tennessee without pants. The half-naked body of the 22-year-old student was recovered from the water on Friday, two weeks after he went missing during a night out in Nashville.

An initial police autopsy did not find any indication of foul play, but it also failed to detect signs indicating he drowned after leaving Luke's Bridge Food and Drink at 9:30 p.m. on March 22. A second autopsy was ordered by the family after that, which confirmed that there was no sign of water in his lungs.

Twist in the Tale

Riley Strain
Riley Strain X

This raised concerns that Strain may have been dead before entering the water. His pants, boots, and wallet were also reported to be missing. Now, world-famous forensic expert Dr. Bill Bass has offered his perspective, saying that Strain's pants "would not come off by themselves" and were likely removed before he entered the river where his body was found.

"I would say somebody took them off," Bass, who founded the University of Tennessee's famed Body Farm, told News Channel 5.

Riley Strain
Riley Strain X

"If you do research on this, it would be very difficult because you've got to kill a person to do it, but it is difficult to get your pants off," he explained.

"It's difficult when you are alive to get your pants off. It is unusual. Normally if you fall in the river, it's very difficult to get your pants off," he said.

The family is also seeking clarification on why Strain was without his trousers, boots, and billfold when his body was eventually located under a rock, eight miles downstream, at 7:28 a.m. on Friday.

"Unfortunately, the only thing that was found with him, as the Police stated in the report was the watch and the shirt" family friend Chris Dingman told NewsNation's Elizabeth Vargas Reports.

"Everything else was not with him when he was found" Dingam added.

Mystery Deepens

The University of Missouri student was in the city attending the annual spring formal with members of the Delta Chi fraternity when he was reportedly kicked out from the bar shortly after 9:30 p.m.

Riley Strain
Riley Strain seen stumbling and falling while walking the Nashville streets after being thrown out of the bar X

Strain told his friends that he would meet them back at their hotel, but he was nowhere to be seen upon their return from the night out.

His friends tried to reach him but received no reply, prompting them to report Strain as missing after their efforts to locate him through his Snapchat location were unsuccessful.

Police obtained surveillance footage from Downtown Smoke & Vape Shop on Church Street, which showed Strain near the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Church Street. In the footage, the seemingly drunk student, clad in a two-toned black and brown shirt and blue jeans, stumbled before quickly regaining his footing and continuing down the street.

Another camera positioned near the intersection of Gay Street and 1st Avenue North captured footage just before 10 p.m., showing Strain taking large strides with his head down as he stumbled through the streets.

Strain had reportedly FaceTimed his mother, Michelle Whiteid, earlier that evening, and she noted nothing unusual during their conversation.

Riley Strain
Riley Strain X

Earlier, police shared footage on X showing Strain walking along the sidewalk past an officer who appeared to be inspecting a car with a smashed window.

Homeless people living in an encampment on the nearby riverbank claimed to have seen a man matching Strain's description stumbling into their camp.

Concerns regarding the police investigation grew when two amateur investigators on TikTok found Strain's bank card in debris outside the camp.

Also, a social worker reported spotting a homeless man wearing a shirt identical to Strain's distinctive black and white one days following his disappearance.

However, the homeless man's involvement seems to have been ruled out after Strain was found still wearing the shirt in which he vanished.

Despite this, Strain's family in Missouri remains concerned that investigators are not focusing on people who may have been among the last to see their son alive.

"One of the people of interest, an hour after Riley was found, I was back at that scene and just happened to see that person," Dingman said.

"And so we had a group of volunteers that kind of followed the gentleman.

"We called the police let them know that we had found him because we hadn't been notified they talked to yet and was told by the police that you know, that was no longer Person of Interest.

"They had somebody else who were interested in," he added.