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Riley Strain’s Stepfather Says Family Are Holding Difficult ‘Conversations’ About Fate of Missing Student: ‘Everybody’s Thinking It’

"Nobody knows what happened to Riley," Strain's stepfather Chris Whiteid said Wednesday as the search for the student continues

<p>Metro Nashville PD</p> Riley Strain

Metro Nashville PD

Riley Strain

As Riley Strain's family continue the search for the missing 22-year-old student, they recognize that there are difficult conversations to be had.

Strain, a University of Missouri senior, was last seen just before 10 p.m. local time on March 8 in security footage captured by Gay Street in Nashville.

On Wednesday, Strain's stepfather, Chris Whiteid, spoke to ABC News about the student's disappearance, sharing of conversations they wish they didn't have to have, "Put yourself in our shoes. Your family, your brother, your sister — they've been missing for almost two weeks."

"Everybody knows it, everybody's thinking it — those conversations are starting to happen," he continued. "It's not what we want. And I understand that people want to know what we're feeling — we're feeling frustrated, we're feeling hurt, we're feeling depressed."

"Nobody knows what happened to Riley," he added.

<p>Denny Simmons / The Tennessean</p> Riley Strain's mother, Michelle Strain Whiteid, and his stepfather, Chris Whiteid

Denny Simmons / The Tennessean

Riley Strain's mother, Michelle Strain Whiteid, and his stepfather, Chris Whiteid

Related: Missing Student Riley Strain's Last Text Message Revealed as Parents Express Frustration with Search

Whiteid said that Strain, who would usually speak to his mom Michelle Strain Whiteid several times a day, didn't sound intoxicated when he FaceTimed her from a bar the night he went missing.

He said the last text Strain sent to his mom on March 8 read, "I love you." The student was in Nashville with his Delta Chi fraternity members.

While speaking to PEOPLE on Wednesday, Strain's mother Michelle insisted, “We’re searching everywhere,” and wanted to assure her son, "We're going to find you."

“I’ve never gone this long without talking to him,” she said. “He just always wants to make sure that his mama is okay, no matter what. He’s such a great kid.”

<p>Christopher Whiteid</p> Riley Strain

Christopher Whiteid

Riley Strain

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

“If he was having a bad day at school, he would call me and we would talk,” she said of speaking to her son throughout the day. “I’d be like, ‘You just got to get through it, Bub. Not every day is going to be perfect, but you got to find the good in everything.’ ”

In an update on Tuesday, police said they were "doing everything" to find the missing student and that their investigation is ongoing. Strain's bank card was found near a river in Nashville on Sunday, according to a post on X (formerly Twitter) from the Metro Nashville Police Department.

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<p>Metro Nashville PD</p>

Metro Nashville PD

Strain had been in Luke Bryan's bar prior to his disappearance, and he'd also texted his mom a photo at Miranda Lambert's bar. She thinks he was at Garth Brooks' bar when he FaceTimed her with his friends.

“We FaceTimed for a while, he wanted me to see around, and he was so excited,” she told PEOPLE. “Then we hung up and he texted me and he was like, ‘It was kind of hard to hear you, but I wanted you to see what was happening.’ "

"I said, ‘Well, you boys be safe. Make good choices. I love you guys.’ And he said, “I love you, too,’" she added. "And that’s it, that’s the last I have heard from him.”

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