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Carly Pearce Pays Tribute to Riley Strain During Hometown Concert

By Michael Mar 26, 2024
Carly Pearce and Riley Strain Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy; Inset: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Carly Pearce dedicated a portion of her weekend concert to college student Riley Strain, who was recently found dead in Nashville.

“I do not feel like I can live in Nashville and be in the state of Missouri tonight and not say that we love you, Riley Strain,” Pearce, 33, told the crowd at her St. Louis concert on March 22, per social media footage. “I just wanna say that I’m thinking of his family and I’m thinking of his friends and anybody in this room that knows him and I wanna dedicate this to them.”

Strain, 22, was found dead on March 22, two weeks after he went missing following a visit to Luke Bryan‘s Nashville bar, 32 Bridge Food + Drink. The University of Missouri college senior was in town with his Delta Chi fraternity brothers for their spring formal.

After speaking about Strain, Pearce began performing her 2017 hit single “Every Little Thing.”

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“Every little thing, I remember every little thing,” she sang to the crowd. “The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting. Every little thing.” Pearce concluded the song by adding, “We love you Riley.”

While visiting Bryan’s bar on March 8, Strain was asked by security to exit the country singer’s establishment.

According to a statement shared on Bryan’s Instagram from TC Restaurant Group, which owns and operates 32 Bridge, Strain was escorted out of the venue around 9:35 p.m.

Bryan and the bar said via Instagram Stories that they were working closely with police to provide security footage and any other potentially helpful information. “Y’all this is scary,” Bryan previously said on March 12. “Praying for his safe return.”

After leaving the establishment without a friend, Strain was spotted on surveillance video crossing the street with a group and checking his phone. He then stopped and changed directions before proceeding down the street behind the group, according to ABC News.

According to additional video obtained by ABC News, Strain briefly spoke with a police officer on the night he vanished. The officer asked how he was doing and he replied, “I’m good, how are you?” No additional video of Strain had been discovered after his brief interaction with police.

The college senior was reported missing after his fellow students couldn’t locate him in his hotel room after a night out in Nashville.

Following an extensive search in the area, Nashville Police announced on March 22 that Strain’s body had been found eight miles from downtown Nashville.

Riley Strain Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

“The body of Riley Strain was recovered from the Cumberland River in West Nashville this morning,” the police announced via X. “No foul play-related trauma was observed. An autopsy is pending.”

In honor of Strain’s favorite color, the city of Nashville recently decided to turn select buildings, businesses and park lights green.

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“Riley got to see how much Nashville loves him from heaven, and I know in my heart he was smiling, because that’s just who our boy is,” family friend Chris Dingman wrote via Facebook on March 23. “Thank you to everyone that has been along this incredible journey with us.”

In an emotional press conference, Strain’s mom Michelle Whiteid also thanked the community for their thoughts and prayers during the two-week search.

“I just ask that you mamas out there hug your babies tight tonight, please,” Whiteid said on March 22. “Please, for me. Just hug your babies tight. Thank you for sharing our story.”

By Michael

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