Naomi Irion kidnapping suspect 'not talking,' family has 'no reason' to believe she is hurt, brother says

Suspect in Naomi Irion’s kidnapping seen on video

Video footage from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada shows a suspect in missing Naomi Irion’s abduction walking through a Walmart parking lot, where she was last seen.

The search for missing Nevada 18-year-old woman Naomi Irion continues as a suspect in her kidnapping prepares to appear in court Wednesday for a bail hearing.

Troy Driver, 41, is charged with first-degree kidnapping and is currently being held on $750,000 bond, according to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. Irion remains missing, and the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

“I’ve been assured that there is no reason to believe Naomi has been harmed or is not alive, so we still have hope in our family,” Casey Valley, Irion’s brother, told Fox News Digital. “We still have hope in our family. We feel that Naomi is alive, and she’s still out there somewhere. And she wants to come home, and we want her to come home. There’s a lot of people making a lot of speculative comments.”

Valley added that Driver is “not talking,” and he does not “expect” the suspect will speak during his bail hearing on Wednesday.

Driver was reportedly previously sentenced to 15 years for his role in helping cover up a murder in 1997 and other violent crimes, according to local records obtained by News 4 and FOX 11 Reno. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said it does not share criminal records.

“The reason I don’t think he’s talking, and it’s kind of an assumption on my part … this suspect is familiar with the criminal justice system, intimately,” Valley said. 

Naomi Irion kidnapping suspect Troy Driver. (Lyon County Sheriff’s Office)

The teenager was last seen in a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, Nevada, after 5 a.m. on March 12. It was where she typically parked her car and took an employee bus to her job manufacturing batteries at a Panasonic factory. The FBI said she was “abducted” from the parking lot “by a nondescript male.”

Irion’s brother is asking anyone with personal knowledge of the suspect or anyone who has come into contact with Driver to contact the FBI of Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. 

“Anyone else that has personal knowledge of the suspect at any time — if you have even heard of this guy, you need to be in contact with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department or the FBI,” he said.

Naomi Irion kidnapping suspect (Lyon County Sheriff)

LCSO had been searching for a Chevy pickup truck they believed was involved in Irion’s kidnapping. On March 25, the sheriff’s office said they had recovered an impounded pickup truck “that was possibly involved.”

A group of volunteers will gather Saturday at a location somewhere between Fernley and Falon, Nevada, based on where Irion was abducted and where the suspect lives. Irion’s family has yet to determine a specific meeting location. 

“There’s a lot of open land between those two towns,” Valley said. 

Naomi Irion (Lyon County Sheriff)

Security camera footage released by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday shows a potential suspect in her kidnapping. The man wearing jeans and a gray, hooded sweatshirt can be seen walking from a nearby homeless camp into the Walmart parking lot. Authorities said the suspect got into the driver’s seat of Irion’s vehicle and left in an “unknown direction with Naomi in the passenger seat.”

The suspect could be seen in the footage “walking directly in front of vehicles and their headlights.”

Deputies located Irion’s vehicle — a four-door sedan — in Fernley on March 15, two days after she was reported missing. Evidence authorities found in her abandoned vehicle suggested that her disappearance was criminal in nature.

Naomi Irion. (Credit: Irion family)

Irion moved from South Africa to Nevada, where she was living with Valley, in August 2021. 

Naomi’s father, Herve Irion, and mother are in South Africa but traveled to Nevada this week to assist with the search for their daughter. Herve Irion works for the U.S. State Department in the foreign service. The Irions have lived in a number of foreign countries, including Germany and Russia.

The Lyon Sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information about Irion’s whereabouts to call 775-463-6620 or email [email protected]

The Irion family is accepting donations that will go toward the search for Naomi through a GoFundMe page and, a nonprofit helping people for private investigations. Her family is asking the public to mention Naomi Irion in their donations.

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