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Search for missing student Riley Strain shifts to dam 40 miles from where he was last seen in Nashville

Riley Strain's family provides update
Riley Strain's family provides update, United Cajun Navy joins search 07:00

As authorities and community volunteers continued to search for Riley Strain, the 22-year-old University of Missouri student who went missing almost two weeks ago in Nashville, they shifted their focus to a dam miles away from the section of the Cumberland River downtown where efforts were focused initially.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department shared a video on Tuesday that was taken from one of their helicopters, which was flying over the Cheatham Dam, about 40 miles away from central Nashville.

"Our helicopters continue to fly over the Cumberland River in the ongoing search for Riley Strain," the police department said in a social media post with the video. Nashville police have been leading the investigation into Strain's disappearance, but they partnered with the Cheatham County Sheriff's Office for downriver operations.

Officers worked together to shut down the dam this week and inspect any debris that floated up to the surface, CBS affiliate WTVF reported, but they did not find anything related to the search for Strain.

"Somehow, Riley may have fallen into the river and was swept away by the current," David Flagg, the director of operations for the United Cajun Navy, a volunteer disaster relief organization that is now assisting in the search for Strain, told WTVF. "The current was very, very swift on the day that he disappeared."

Crews have been searching for Strain on the ground, in boats and from the air.

Strain was last seen on the night of March 8, when he was ordered to leave a bar in downtown Nashville and briefly interacted with a Nashville police officer shortly afterward while walking along a street that runs adjacent to the Cumberland River. More than a week after his disappearance, two community members discovered Strain's debit card on the riverbank near where he and the police officer exchanged greetings the night he vanished. 

After the debit card was found, search efforts restructured as the United Cajun Navy worked to mobilize individual community volunteers. The organization has so far lent airboats and a hovercraft to Strain's case. 

The college student's parents, Michelle Whiteid and Chris Whiteid, have been in Nashville since the search began. Chris Whiteid, Strain's stepfather, told ABC News on Wednesday that his family has started to brace for the worst case scenario as more time passes.

"Put yourself in our shoes. Everybody knows it. Everybody's thinking it," Whiteid said. "Those conversations are starting to happen. It's not what we want."

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