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Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden believes there is “still no evidence of any foul play” in Riley Strain’s death despite reports that little water was found in his lungs after he apparently drowned in the Cumberland River following a night out in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month.

People working along the river in West Nashville found Strain, a 22-year-old University of Missouri senior who went missing on March 8 while on a spring formal trip with his fraternity, in the water on the morning of March 22.

The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) told Fox News Digital that a detective attended Strain’s autopsy examination, and preliminary results show that his death “continues to appear accidental,” with “no foul play-related trauma.” Toxicology results are pending.

But Strain’s family reportedly ordered a second autopsy after the 22-year-old was discovered without his pants or wallet. Family spokesperson Chris Dingman told The Independent that Strain had “a lack of” water in his lungs when he was discovered — a detail the medical examiner’s office has not yet released.

NASHVILLE POLICE SAY RILEY STRAIN’S DEATH WAS ACCIDENTAL WITH ‘NO FOUL PLAY-RELATED TRAUMA’

“Bottom line is, there’s no evidence of any foul play here. The history is that he had been in a bar. The bartender says they only gave him one drink, but that’s up to the toxicology report,” Baden told Fox News Digital of Strain’s death. “However, it is common, despite some expert opinions, or individuals in rivers flow downstream to have… parts of their clothing taken off by, branches in the water, by rocks, by rubbing against hard objects, by boats — that will all take clothing off. So the fact that he lost his pants and boots is not at all evidence that he was having foul play.”

As for the little water found in Strain’s lungs after he was discovered, prompting speculation that the college student might have been killed prior to being put in the water, Baden believes that detail doesn’t indicate foul play, either.

RILEY STRAIN FOUND: NASHVILLE POLICE LOCATE BODY OF COLLEGE STUDENT WHO WENT MISSING AFTER NIGHT OUT

Riley Strain

“That’s the issue about water in the lung after two weeks of composition in water. The amount of water that was in the lungs at the time of drawing and drowning, causing death, is of no value because the amount of water in the lungs changes a great deal. Sometimes going up, sometimes going down, as the body decomposes. So, with a decomposing body, two weeks in the water, the amount of water that was present [in the lungs] at the time of death is so unknown.”

Baden added that “it’s not the water that causes harm” in a drowning, “it’s the blockage of oxygen getting to the lungs.”

TIKTOKERS FIND ‘GREAT LEAD’ IN RILEY STRAIN’S NASHVILLE VANISHING AS CITY HUNTS FOR MISSING STUDENT: FRIEND

MNPD boat searching for Riley Strain in the Cumberland River

“So, if somebody goes in the water and because of a spasm of the windpipe, because … if you can’t breathe, you get a little spasm there. It’s the lack of oxygen that causes the person to die. And one can have lack of oxygen and water without water getting into the lungs, but just by creating a spasm in the air passages,” he explained.

Baden went on to shoot down theories that Strain was murdered prior to being found in the river.

Riley Strain seen on police body-worn camera footage on March 8

“This is a classic case of somebody falling in the water while intoxicated, who then flows downstream with the river. He doesn’t stay in one spot. He’s flowing downward, which can rip more clothing up because there are a lot of branches in rivers and things like that. … And, it’s interesting here that he had his shirt. The socks on. And he had an Apple Watch on or something. It doesn’t look like it was a robbery of his valuables.”

POLICE FIND MISSING COLLEGE STUDENT RILEY STRAIN’S BANK CARD NEAR NASHVILLE-AREA RIVER

Luke's 32 in Nashville

The college student’s disappearance garnered national attention. Strain was visiting Nashville with friends when he vanished on the evening of March 8. He had been out on Broadway drinking with friends at Luke Bryan’s downtown bar, called Luke’s 32, when staff asked him to leave.

“At 9:35 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue through our Broadway exit at the front of our building,” the bar said in a March 15 statement. “He was followed down the stairs with one member of his party. The individual with Riley did not exit and returned upstairs.”

A map of Riley Strain's last known movements and cellphone pings on March 8 compared to where his body was located on March 22

Video footage shared by MNPD after Strain’s death showed the 22-year-old stumbling as he walked away from downtown and in the direction of the river.

Police are still working to determine exactly how Strain ended up walking in the opposite direction of his hotel. It is possible that he could have entered the wrong destination into a map on his phone, according to Dingman, but authorities continue to investigate all possibilities.

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