The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office arrested 41-year-old Troy Driver (pictured) and charged him with kidnapping 13 days after Naomi Irion, 18, was last seen
Police have arrested a suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a missing Nevada teen who was last seen in her car in the parking lot of a Walmart nearly two weeks ago.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office on Friday arrested Troy Driver, 41, and charged him with kidnapping 13 days after Naomi Irion, 18, was last seen in Fernley, Nevada, about 34 miles east of Reno.
Police said they located and impounded the Chevrolet Silverado High Country truck that was ‘possibly involved’ in the crime and searched it for evidence.
In the meantime, the investigation is still active and police are continuing their search for Irion.
Police have not confirmed if Driver is the man seen in surveillance or confirmed if Driver knew Irion.
In surveillance footage from before her disappearance, Irion can be seen parking her car in the Walmart lot and sitting in the driver’s seat while she waited for a company shuttle to take her to her job at Panasonic. An unidentified man wearing a hoodie was filmed approaching Naomi’s car after circling the area.
It’s unclear if she was in the store at the time he broke into the vehicle or if she was in the car, but footage shows the pair driving off with the man in the driver’s seat.
The pair then drove out of the lot with the man behind the wheel. Her abandoned car was found less than a mile away on March 15 but there has been no sign of Naomi since then.
Police said there was ‘evidence of a crime’ inside the car, but did not reveal what they found.
Police said they located and impounded the Chevrolet Silverado High Country truck that was ‘possibly involved’ in the crime and searched it for evidence
An unidentified man was filmed approaching Naomi’s car in the Walmart parking lot after circling the area
Before Friday, the sheriff’s office had said only that Irion’s disappearance was ‘suspicious in nature.’ But Melissa Thomson, the sheriff’s dispatch shift supervisor, told The Associated Press Friday night it is now investigating the incident as a kidnapping.
‘The FBI has changed their flyers to refer to it as a kidnapping,’ she said. She didn’t provide any additional details and didn’t know when any more information would be released.
Casey Valley, Naomi’s older brother who she lives with, spoke to the media last week and said the suspect ‘circled around the parking lot maybe to make sure there were no witnesses.
‘He came up behind the car and forced his way into the driver’s side of the car. Maybe her door was unlocked.
‘He either said or did something to make her move to the passenger seat, and then he drove her car away into an unknown direction.’
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.
Panasonic knew about the harassment and had handled it ‘internally,’ according to Naomi’s brother.
Naomi’s father Herve Irion works for the State Department. When she was around 13, the family moved to Moscow, then they went to Frankfurt and finally settled in South Africa.
Distraught: Naomi’s mother Diana sobbed with worry, describing her as an ‘extraordinary’ woman who was excited about her life
Naomi Irion, 18, has been missing since March 12 when she was abducted from a Walmart parking lot in her car
Her distraught family revealed to DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview this week that the 18-year-old was exploring 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 in the State Department.
Irion moved to America last year to live with her older brother Casey Valley, an Apple employee who served in the Navy as a nuclear machinist from 2009 to 2016. 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.
The day before she vanished, Naomi went on a date with a man who has not been named in Reno. It’s likely they met on a dating app but her family does not know which one. She had accounts on Tinder, Hinge and Bumble.
Her family does not think he is involved in her disappearance but say law enforcement is aware of him. Before she was taken, Naomi was enjoying living in America after years of being sheltered, they said.
‘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.
‘She really wanted to explore herself as a free American young woman and what that looked like for her.’
Naomi’s family say she had accounts on Hinge, Bumble and Tinder. She had been meeting people online and at work, and was a ‘member of the LGBTQ community’, her family said
‘She was so excited to move back to America,’ her mother, Diana, told DailyMail.com on Tuesday after flying in to Nevada from South Africa, where she still lives with her husband and their three younger sons.
Diana’s husband, Naomi’s father Herve Irion, works for the foreign service and has held posts in Moscow, Frankfurt and Pretoria. He is now in Nevada with his wife Diana and their three Ukrainian-born adopted sons to join the search for Naomi.
Until this year, Naomi had never driven nor gone on dates freely. She was meeting people ‘online’ and at work, just like other teenagers and adults, her family said.
She was excited about having a car, a job in the Panasonic factory in Reno, where she was making friends. She moved to Fernley to live with her older brother and his long-term girlfriend Nikki last year after graduating from the American school in South Africa.
Her plan was to use her brother’s safe home as a launchpad for her own life, saving up enough money from her job at Panasonic to afford her own place, and enrolling in community college.