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In a tragic development, authorities say that a body found at a Nevada graveside is that of missing 18-year-old Naomi Irion.
In an incident that made national headlines, Irion was allegedly abducted from a Reno-area Walmart parking lot in the early hours of March 12. She routinely caught a shuttle bus outside the Fernley, Nev., retail outlet to her job at a nearby Panasonic factory.
Acting on a tip, deputies with the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and investigators from other agencies went to a remote part of the county in the western part of the state where they sadly located the deceased kidnap victim on Tuesday.
Irion’s car was found abandoned not far from Walmart three days after she went missing.
“The body of an adult Caucasian female was recovered from that grave site; the body was transported to the Washoe County Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy and to confirm identification. On March 30, 2022, the remains were confirmed as those of Naomi Irion, the family has been notified,” the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office announced in a statement on Wednesday.
“No further information can be released at this time as this is still an open and active investigation. We would like to extend our sympathy and condolences to the Irion family and thank all the volunteers for their hard work in trying to find Naomi and bring closure to the family. The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work closely on these cases.”
Volunteers in the community had conducted several searches of the area for the missing teen. The FBI had previously offered a reward of up to $10,000 for any information about Irion’s disappearance.
Irion, the daughter of a U.S. State Department diplomat, spent much of her life overseas. She recently moved back to the U.S. from South Africa to live with her older brother in Nevada. In addition to the Panasonic job, she enrolled in a local community college.
Authorities have charged a 41-year-old suspect with first-degree kidnapping, subject to $750,000 bail, in connection with this case. He is due back in court on April 5 for a pretrial hearing. He was arrested on March 25; cops impounded his truck at that time as part of the evidence-gathering process.
Surveillance footage obtained by police purportedly shows that a hooded man approached her parked car at 5:24 AM. The man allegedly opened the driver’s side door, said something to Irion to compel her to move over, and got in, then drove off.
Daughter of diplomat dad went on a date before alleged abduction, was finally exploring life as ‘free American’ https://t.co/u7Opzz6MTC
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) March 24, 2022
Authorities have not confirmed whether the suspect and the hooded man are believed to be one and the same.
According to several Nevada news outlets, a criminal complaint accuses the suspect, who allegedly has a criminal record, of abduction “for the purpose of committing sexual assault and/or for the purpose of killing” Naomi Irion.
UPDATE: We got our hands on the criminal complaint filed this morning against #TroyDriver. Prosecutors allege the "defendant did abduct Naomi Irion and did hold or detain her for the purpose of committing sexual assault and/or for the purpose of killing her.." #FindNaomiIrion pic.twitter.com/1JWqSNC6RE
— Ben Margiott (@BenMargiott) March 30, 2022
All suspects are presumed innocent until or unless they are convicted in a court of law of any alleged crimes.
Watch a report on the case from NewsNation:
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