We Have TikTok To Thank For A Big Break In The Riley Strain Case

The age of true crime podcasts has seen independent investigators uncover new leads for cases both old and new, like the unsolved Denise Johnson murder. Now, a couple of TikTokers can say they've done the same. As reported by Fox News, TikTok users @nobodyleftbehind13 and @annaclendening — real names Brandy Baenen and Anna Clendening — streamed their search for missing 22-year-old college student Riley Strain and ended up discovering his credit card. The pair found it on March 17, 2024, between Gay Street and the Cumberland River in Nashville, which is where the student was last seen on the evening of March 8. Video of the search was later posted to @rileylively's account.

"S***. I found his credit card," one user says. "You found his credit card?" the other user says from behind the camera. "We found his credit card. We gotta go. We gotta hang up the phone."

Chris Dingman, a spokesperson for the Strain family, told Fox News that the pair immediately reached out. "We did get a great lead yesterday from a TikTok dynamic duo that we are sincerely appreciative of," he told the outlet. "And we're appreciative of everybody that's been out there searching and trying to bring Riley home. They did find this credit card. It was in a location extremely close to where the last ping of his phone was from. It is verified."


Riley Strain was visiting Nashville at the time of his disappearance. The University of Missouri student was with 50 of his fraternity brothers at country singer and songwriter Luke Bryan's bar, Luke's 32 Bridge. According to NewsChannel 5 Nashville, the bar said Strain purchased one alcoholic drink and two waters before he was kicked out at 9:35 p.m. Strain was reported missing the next day, per NewsChannel 5. He was last seen in surveillance footage walking across Church Street — located two blocks north of the bar — close to the Cumberland River. The footage shows him stumbling and even falling.

"This information included all security camera footage, photos of Riley at our establishment with detailed time stamps, transaction records, and staff accounts," said a spokesperson with TC Restaurant Group and Luke's 32 Bridge. "Additionally, we proactively engaged in communication with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and will continue to communicate and provide any records needed to aid their ongoing investigation."

Authorities searched the Cumberland River on Saturday, March 16, using K9's, a dive team, drones, and sonar technology — one day before the TikTokers made their discovery.

The TikTokers show no sign of stopping

One of the TikTokers behind the discovery, Brandy Baenen, spoke to NewsNation's Elizabeth Vargas about her thoughts on the case. "Anna [Clendening] happened to message me," she said during a Tuesday interview on "Elizabeth Vargas Reports." "I'm so happy she did because her and I together were brave enough to be able to go all the way down that embankment. And now we feel like we're professionals at it. We were very excited to find the card, but now we just feel like we have so many more questions."

Speaking to WPDE, Baenen said she sees Strain's face "every time" she closes her eyes and has not been sleeping. Both she and Clendening don't seem intent on stopping their investigation. "We need to do more," Clendening told the outlet, referencing the investigation. "We need to do more."

On March 21, NewsNation reported that a couple provided another potential lead — they contacted Chris Dingman and said they spoke to the student the night he went missing. "The mother reached out, she saw Riley and made a comment, like, 'You're not driving tonight?' and he goes, 'No ma'am,'" Dingman told "Elizabeth Vargas Reports" on Wednesday.

As of now, the case remains a chilling unsolved disappearance.