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Riley Strain’s Mom Cries as Family Says Their Goal Is Still to Bring Missing Student Home

Strain's parents expressed some frustrations with the investigation on Monday, but said Tuesday that they believe police have handled the case “well”

  • The parents of missing college student Riley Strain are still "focusing on bringing Riley home" as the search for the 22-year-old nears the end of its second week

  • Chris Whiteid, Strain's stepfather, said family members believe finding their missing loved one is still possible

  • He also said family members believe police have handled the case “well" despite some frustrations with the investigation

Riley Strain’s family still hopes to bring him home as the search for the missing Missouri college student continues through its second week.

Police have said Strain, 22, was last seen just before 10 p.m. local time on March 8 in security footage captured by Gay Street in Nashville. The United Cajun Navy announced Tuesday that it has joined the search for Strain.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Strain’s mother, Michelle Whiteid, tearfully said family members are “focusing on bringing Riley home,” a goal her husband still believes is possible.

Related: Officials Investigating If Missing Student Riley Strain Was Overserved at Luke Bryan's Bar in Nashville

Strain’s friends are also “heartbroken” over the Delta Chi fraternity member’s disappearance, according to his mom.

“He’s their best friend,” Michelle said, later noting that Strain was her best friend, as well. “We love these boys like our own. It’s just as hard on them as it is on us.”

"He's everything," she added through tears.

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain, the 22-year-old college student who has been missing since March 8

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain, the 22-year-old college student who has been missing since March 8

Strain’s parents expressed some frustrations with the investigation into their son’s death in an interview with NewsNation on Monday.

But at Tuesday’s press conference, Chris said family members believe police have handled the case “well.”

“We feel like they've handled it well. We know that there’s an excessive amount of information coming into them that they’re having to dissect,” he told reporters. “Yes, as the days drag on, we are frustrated. We know they’re doing their job. We’ve seen what they’ve got.”

Chris noted that the family does not actually know for certain who Strain sent his last text message to, despite a family friend’s previous claim. "We know that Riley was possibly communicating with multiple people," he said.

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

Later, police confirmed there is still no proof of criminality in connection with Strain’s disappearance.

Strain’s debit card, which was found on an embankment near the Cumberland River, is currently “only piece of physical evidence” authorities have obtained, according to detective Anthony Chandler.

“There are several leads that we are following up with at a constant basis and an influx of information is coming in at all times,” Chander said. “But the priority remains locating Riley.”

When asked why police did not find the bank card first, Sergeant Robert Nielsen said authorities were “looking for a body” and not “small pieces of evidence.”

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain, the University of Missouri student who went missing on March 8

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain, the University of Missouri student who went missing on March 8

“There’s a lot of variables to these investigations,” Neilsen explained. "Can we miss some things? Sure. But our primary goal is to find Mr. Strain and bring him home safely.”

Additionally, police said the body camera footage was released Monday to help dispel rumors that Strain was being chased before he went missing.

Related: Missing Student Riley Strain Seen Stumbling on Surveillance Video Night He Went Missing

Family said they also viewed footage from a bar Strain visited the night he disappeared, which apparently showed a friend walking downstairs with Strain, presumably to the exit, before the two parted ways.

Police are still sifting through a mound of additional information as the search for Strain continues.

Chris said Strain’s family appreciates the outpouring they’ve received from the community, from the press and others “more than you’ll ever know.”

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