Naomi Irion missing Nevada woman body found as Troy Driver now faces abduction charges in the woman’s disappearance. An autopsy in to cause of death is underway.
Nevada authorities have confirmed the identity of a missing 18 year old woman whose body was found in a remote part of the state Tuesday, as that of Naomi Irion. The discovery comes more than two weeks after the woman waited for a transfer service in Fernley before allegedly being abducted.
Sheriffs had followed up on a tip regarding the missing woman’s disappearance that led them to a possible gravesite in Churchill County, where a body was found.
On Wednesday, the human remains ‘were confirmed as those of Naomi Irion,’ the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office stated. A cause and manner of death had yet to be provided as the investigation remained ongoing.
Arrested in Irion’s alleged kidnapping was Troy Edward Driver, 41 – who had previously served time for murder AP reported.
Suspicious activity or violence found in victim’s abandoned car
Security video showed a masked man wearing a hooded sweatshirt, thought to be Driver, ‘nervously pacing’ before approaching Irion as she waited in a vehicle outside a Walmart store in rural Fernley, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Reno.
At some point, video showed the man getting into Irion’s 1992 Mercury Sable and driving off. The vehicle was later found a short distance away in an industrial park according to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.
Family members later said authorities had found ‘suspicious activity or violence inside the car.’
Of note, police to date have not confirmed if Driver is the man seen in the surveillance video or whether Driver knew Irion.
Irion’s family said the teen went on a date with an unknown man the day before she vanished and had complained about being sexually harassed at work.
Irion’s employer, Panasonic, knew about the harassment and had handled it ‘internally,’ according to family members.
Driver had previously been sentenced to 15 years jail for his role in a methamphetamine dealer’s 1997 murder in California and had served 12 years prison time before being released.
Break in the case
Along with accessory to murder, Driver’s rap sheet in California also includes convictions on charges of second-degree robbery and burglary heavy reported.
Driver has been held at the Lyon County Jail in Yerington as a suspect in what authorities say was Irion’s kidnapping. He has not yet entered a plea and has refused to answer detective’s questions.
The man was arrested last Friday, just days before Irion’s body was discovered.
Driver was taken into custody at a home off Alcorn Road in Fernley, Nevada, with officials impounding the man’s truck according to NyNews4.
Authorities declined to say what led them to arresting Driver. Nevertheless, it is thought a break in the case came after authorities shared photos of a suspect vehicle.
On March 24, sheriff’s officials wrote that they had identified the vehicle and occupant(s) that appear in a Walmart video minutes before Naomi was abducted.
Suspect could make bail
Officials said the vehicle was parked in the lot at around 5:15 a.m., and then drove around the median and parked without its lights on. The suspect “is seen walking directly in front of this parked vehicle.”
Driver remained held on $750,000 bail where he faced first degree kidnapping charges. He would only need to come up with 15% of the bail amount to be released according to reports.
Justice of the Peace Lori Matheus said Driver will have to wear a GPS monitoring device if he posts a bond.
Driver abducted her ‘on or about March 12’ and ‘did hold or detain her for the purpose of committing sexual assault and/or purpose of killing her,’ according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Lyon County’s Canal Township Justice Court.
The FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information to locate Irion. Hundreds of volunteers had joined searches during the past two weeks, looking for clues in a vast desert area.
Irion the daughter of a diplomat and who had traveled the world and who had lived in ‘sheltered’ communities had recently moved in with her older brother in Fernley to live a more ‘normal life.’
Fernely is considered a normally ‘safe place’ to live.
Explained Naomi’s mother, Diana, via the dailymail: ‘She really wanted to experience life in America being an American kid. Most kids get to learn how to drive a car and go on dates and get some freedom but in the diplomatic community overseas, you can’t have that. You can’t learn how to drive a car. You can’t really go on dates safely.
‘You have to be secure and there’s a lot of security that keeps us safe. She hadn’t experienced life without that yet.
Free American young woman
‘She really wanted to explore herself as a free American young woman and what that looked like for her.’
The brother, Casey Valley, following the hearing, told reporters that the family was ‘all in shock’ that any bail was set.
Valley said his sister usually caught a bus from the Walmart lot to work at a Reno-area Panasonic facility. Valley said she never arrived at work, and he contacted family members and authorities when Irion didn’t return home that weekend.
Matheus set a court date for Driver next Tuesday, and a preliminary hearing April 12 to decide if there is evidence for Driver to be tried in state court. He could face life in prison without parole if he is convicted.