17 Days After She Went Missing, Remains Of Kidnapped Naomi Irion, 18, Were Found In A Gravesite In A Remote Area.

Naomi Irion, 18, daughter of a U.S. State Department staffer was living in Fernley, Nevada. She was last heard from just before 5:30 a.m. on March 12 in her car in a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, about 30 miles east of Reno. She was in the parking lot waiting in her car for a shuttle to pick her up. Police say investigation video shows suspected Troy Driver walking around the lot at the time she was there.

Naomi lived with her older brother, Casey Valley. Valley said earlier that his sister usually catches a bus from the Walmart lot to work. He communicated family members and authorities after Naomi failed to arrive at work and didn’t return home that weekend. 

Irion’s family claimed the teen went on a date with an unknown man the day before she vanished and had complained about being sexually harassed at work.  

On Wednesday, 17 days after she was abducted, Nevada police announced that they found remains belonging to Naomi Irion. Investigators found the 18-year-old’s body at a gravesite in an undisclosed area of Churchill County, just hours after her accused kidnapper appeared in court via Zoom. 

Officials said they found the body after receiving info that directed them to the Rocky Mountains located about 150 miles from where she was abducted in Fernley. Naomi’s body was transported to the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office for an post-mortem, which confirmed her identification. 

Troy Driver, 41, appeared in court on Wednesday where he was charged with first-degree kidnapping. The ex-con could face life in jail without parole if he is sentenced. 

The Churchill County and Lyon County sheriff’s departments, which have been working closely on Naomi’s case issued condolences to her loved ones. The law enforcement offices wrote in a press release that they would like to extend their sympathy and condolences to Naomi’s family and thank all the volunteers for their hard work in trying to find Naomi and bring closure to the family.

In a criminal complaint filed Wednesday morning, prosecuting attorney alleged that Driver, who was detained last Friday in connection to her vanishing, did kidnap Naomi and did detain her for the purpose of committing sexual assault and/or for the purpose of killing her. Driver made his first court appearance Wednesday via video conference from Lyon County Jail, before Canal Township Justice Court Judge Lori Matheus who ruled that his bail will remain at $750,000.

If Driver is able to post bail, it will be obligatory to wear a GPS monitor as a condition of his release. He also must stay away from Fernley, Nevada, where Naomi’s kidnapping took place.   

 Judge Lori Matheus set a court date for Driver next Tuesday and an initial hearing on April 12 to decide if there is proof for Driver to be tried in state court.  

Investigation footage from the morning of Naomi’s disappearance showed she is sitting in the driver’s seat while she waited for a company shuttle to take her to her job. Footage shows a man wearing a hoodie, believed to be Driver and was approaching her vehicle after circling the area. 

It’s uncertain if she was in the store at the time he broke into the vehicle or if she was in the car, but recording shows the pair driving off with the suspect in the driver’s seat. The pair then drove out of the lot with the man behind the wheel. Her abandoned car was found on March 15 near a paint manufacturing facility in an industrial park along Interstate 80 less than a mile away from the Walmart store.  

Driver is a convicted criminal and earlier served 12 years in California state prison for his role in manslaughter. Criminal archives show he was convicted in 1997 of accessory to a murder after the fact in relation to the killing of 19-year-old Paul Steven Rodriguez. 

It was reported that in April 1997, Rodriguez was shot in the head by his 17-year-old girlfriend, Alissa Marie Moore. Driver, who was 17 years old at the time, and 19-year-old Carl Herbert Dulinksy assisted Moore dispose of Rodriguez’ body and hide his burn down car in an adjacent forest. The threesomes of suspects were detained after the victim’s remains were discovered two weeks after the killing.

Driver’s sister, Sharla Driver Cassidy, was also associated in his crimes after she acknowledged to driving the car used to lure Rodriguez to his death. She also performed as the getaway driver in her brother’s burglaries, which he claimed to have committed to help his sister buy plane tickets to Italy.  

Four months later, Driver pleaded guilty to the accessory charge connected to the murder. He also self-confessed to robbing a convenience store and a service station and to breaking into a hardware store. Driver was sentenced to 15 years in state prison but was released after 12 years.

Since regaining his freedom more than a decade ago, Driver settled in Nevada, living in Elko County and more recently in Lyon County. According to his LinkedIn page, Driver is currently employed as project superintendent at a construction company operating all over the US and Canada. 

Naomi’s family exposed last week that the 18-year-old was discovering life as a free, young American woman after growing up in sheltered communities in Russia, Germany and South Africa as a result of her father’s job with the State Department.

She moved to America last year to live with her brother, Valley. She wanted to learn how to drive, get a job, go on dates and attend community college. 

Fernley, where she was living with her brother, is a safe area where the residents are stunned by what has happened. 

Naomi’s mother, Diana said that she was so excited to move back to America. Her mother flew to Nevada from South Africa, where she still lives with her husband, Herve Irion, and their three Ukrainian-born adopted sons.

Naomi’s family said that up until this year, she had not once driven nor gone on dates freely. She was meeting people online and at work, just like other teens and grown person. Her idea was to use her brother’s harmless home as a Launchpad for her own life, saving up sufficient money from her job to come up with the money for her own place and joining in community college. 

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