We must report a sad end to the frantic search for a missing Nevada teenager following her early morning disappearance from a Walmart parking lot.
Naomi Irion had been waiting in the parking lot of the superstore in Fernley, Nevada at around 5:00 a.m. local time on March 12 when she disappeared. As we’ve previously reported, security camera footage from outside that Walmart showed the 18-year-old woman sitting in her car when she was approached by a mystery man who said or did something to gain access to the inside of her car.
From there, Irion could be seen in the footage moving from the driver’s seat over to the passenger side. The man got into the car, and the pair drove off. Irion was reported missing the next day, and her car was found at a separate site several days later, but the young woman had vanished.
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Sadly, on March 29, investigators found remains at a scene in Churchill County, Nevada about 150 miles away from where Irion was first abducted in the city of Fernley. Forensic investigators were called to the location, where they were able to determine that the remains were those of the teenager, confirming her tragic death following two uncertain weeks following the shocking disappearance.
After the discovery, the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office, where Irion’s body was found, released a joint statement with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, who had jurisdiction where she had originally vanished. In that release to the media later this week, the two offices confirmed that the remains were those of Irion and that her death had been ruled as a homicide. However, they remained tight-lipped about the investigation, refusing even to release a possible cause of death as they continued to work on the identity of the assailant:
“[Homicide detectives’] investigative actions led them to a possible gravesite, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Investigative Services was contacted and responded to assist in processing the scene.No further information can be released at this time as this is still an open and active investigation.”
But now, just days after Irion’s body was discovered so far from the place where she initially went missing, police have arrested and charged a man in the case.
Troy Driver (pictured in his mugshot, above) was initially arrested in connection with Irion’s disappearance back on March 25 and charged with kidnapping. After police found Irion’s body four days later, Driver’s charges were amended, and he now faces additional counts of murder, burglary, and destruction of evidence, according to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. For the time being, Driver is in police custody at the Lyon County Jail as the investigation into the circumstances of Irion’s death continues.
According to The Sun, Driver’s past includes a role in a 1997 murder in northern California. Per the outlet, police records show that Driver was charged with accessory to murder that year in the Ukiah area in connection to the killing of a 19-year-old man named Paul Steven Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a “reputed methamphetamine dealer” in the area who was shot in the head by his 17-year-old girlfriend. Driver, who was also 17 at the time, allegedly helped the woman put Rodriguez’s body in a car and drove it to nearby Mendocino County, where it was dumped.
For his role as an accessory in that case, Driver was sentenced to 15 years in prison; the outlet reports he served 12 years of that sentence before he was released. The news org further reports that Driver has other offenses on his rap sheet, including several burglary and robbery charges also in northern California.
Here is more on the tragedy surrounding Irion’s death, from KTVN 2 News (below):
Such a terrible situation.
Our hearts go out to Naomi’s family, friends, and loved ones during this unimaginably awful time.
[Image via KTVN 2 News/YouTube]