Naomi Irion: Missing Nevada woman's death ruled homicide after body found at gravesite

Irion was last seen at a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, where a stranger got into her car, took the wheel and drove off


                            Naomi Irion: Missing Nevada woman's death ruled homicide after body found at gravesite
The FBI had recently put Naomi Irion on the most-wanted kidnapping victims list (FBI)
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Update: The Churchill County and Lyon County sheriff’s offices are investigating the death of Naomi Irion as a homicide, a recently-released a joint statement revealed. "The exact cause of death is known, however cannot be released at this time as the circumstances around that event if released would compromise the ongoing investigation," the statement said. "No further information can be released at this time as this is still an open and active investigation."

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CHURCHILL COUNTY, NEVADA: The body of Naomi Christine Irion, 18, was found in a remote part of Nevada on Tuesday, March 29, over two weeks after she was abducted outside of Reno. Following up on a tip regarding Naomi's disappearance, sheriffs arrived at a possible gravesite in Churchill County, where they found a body. On Wednesday, March 30, the human remains “were confirmed as those of Naomi Irion,” the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office said. They added that the investigation was ongoing. Her body was transported to the Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy which confirmed her identity.

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Irion was last seen at a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, where a stranger got into her car, took the wheel, and drove off. There was an active effort to find her, being led by the Lyon County Sheriff's Office in Nevada. Security footage showed her sitting in her 1992 Mercury Sable when a man approached her and motioned her to slide into the passenger seat. He then took the wheel and drove off. CCTV footage from the fateful day showed her at a store, dressed in a blue Panasonic top with a grey coat.

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The FBI had recently put Naomi on the most-wanted kidnapping victims list. "Naomi was last seen wearing a blue Panasonic company shirt, a gray cardigan sweater, gray pants, and brown boots.  She was carrying a black purse. Naomi’s iPhone (10 or 11) has yet to be found," the FBI wrote. "Naomi Christine Irion was last seen in the Walmart parking lot in Fernley, Nevada, on March 12, 2022, at approximately 5 a.m., when she was abducted by a nondescript male who entered the driver’s seat of her vehicle. Three days later, Naomi’s vehicle was located next to the Sherman Williams Western Emulsion Plant. Naomi has not been located."

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Naomi spent her childhood traveling the world, across Germany, Russia, South Africa, with her diplomat father. She moved to Fernley to live with her brother, Casey Valley, in August. Her mother Diana Irion said at the time of the disappearance that her daughter wanted “the American dream". “She wanted to live an American normal life like all of the other 18-year-old girls out there…things that American kids take for granted that she was never allowed to do overseas,” Diana Irion said. “And she finally had the freedom to experience all those things.”

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On March 25, a 41-year-old man was arrested in connection with Irion's disappearance. Troy Driver of Fallon, Nevada, "is being held on charges of Kidnapping," the office said in a news release. At the time Naomi had still not been located and police were continuing to search for her." It is unclear whether or not Driver has retained an attorney. 

Troy Edward Driver was reportedly convicted at age 17 in Ukiah, California, of a string of robberies. He had also admitted to being involved in the murder of a drug dealer named Paul Rodriguez, according to old newspaper articles. As per old articles, Troy and another teen “stuffed Rodrigeuz’s body into the trunk of his car and dumped it off a highway." It also says that Troy's sister Sharla Renee Driver Cassidy was also convicted in connection with the murder. Rodriguez was reportedly a methamphetamine dealer.

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Troy also pleaded guilty to three charges of second-degree robbery of a Ukiah Circle K convenience store and Chevron service stations. He was charged in a break-in of a Willits Coast-to-Coast hardware store and admitted to using a firearm. As Mendocino County court records, he was sentenced to 15 years for three robberies with firearm charges and a burglary charge.

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