The body of an 18-year-old woman who hadn’t been seen in almost three weeks has been found in a remote area of Nevada, authorities said Wednesday.
Naomi Irion wasthe FBI said.
The sheriff’s offices of Churchill and Lyon counties said investigators went to a remote part of Churchill County on Tuesday after receiving a tip.
It “led them to a possible gravesite” where “the body of an adult Caucasian female was recovered,” the offices said.
The remains were taken to the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy and identification. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the remains were those of Irion, the offices said.
“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 offices added.
A 41-year-old Nevada man, Troy Driver, was arrested on kidnapping charges on March 25 in connection with Irion’s disappearance. It was unclear whether he would be charged in Irion’s death.
CBS Reno affiliate KTVN-TV, citing the Ukiah (California) Daily Journal, says Driver has a criminal record including pleading guilty to accessory to murder after the fact for his role in a 1997 homicide in Willits, California. He was 17 at the time.
Irion was last seen in the Walmart parking lot in Fernley, Nevada shortly after 5 am on March 12. She normally parked her car there and took a Panasonic employee bus to work. The FBI says she was abducted from the parking lot “by a nondescript male.”
Surveillance footage released by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office shows a potential male suspect walking and facing the direction of the area in which Irion’s car was parked. However, it isn’t clear whether the person in the video is Driver.
The man in the video walked from a nearby homeless camp into the Walmart parking lot wearing jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt.
Irion’s older brother, Casey Valley, said he saw unreleased security camera footage of the suspect’s encounter with Irion after he reported her missing.
He said the footage shows an unidentified man approaching her car, opening the door of the driver’s seat and then saying something that forced Naomi to freeze and move over. The suspect then gets into the driver’s seat and drives off with Naomi in the passenger seat.
Sheriff’s deputies found Irion’s abandoned car in Fernley on March 15. Evidence found in the abandoned car suggested that her disappearance was criminal in nature, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said.
A Lyon County sheriff’s office spokesperson said Driver was charged with kidnapping in the first degree and is being held on $750,000 bail. The judge ruled that if he posts bail, Driver will be placed under enhanced supervision with a GPS monitor.
A pretrial hearing was scheduled for April 5 and a preliminary hearing was slated for April 12.