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Crime News

Nevada Man Accused in Teen Naomi Irion’s Killing, Rape Found Dead in Jail Cell

Troy Driver, 43, died of suspected asphyxiation in his jail cell, according to a preliminary investigation by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. 

By Dorian Geiger
Suspect Charged With Murder In Death Of Naomi Irion

The man accused of abducting a Nevada teenager from a Walmart parking lot last year and killing her was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell over the weekend, according to authorities.

Troy Driver was found dead in his cell on Sunday afternoon, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. He was found unresponsive by jail officials conducting routine checks around 5 p.m. Officials initiated emergency life-saving measures before the 43-year-old was pronounced dead by responding paramedics. 

RELATED: Man Accused Of Kidnapping Naomi Irion From Walmart Parking Lot Now Charged With Sexual Assault

A preliminary investigation indicated that Driver died by asphyxiation, the sheriff’s office said. An autopsy is pending. Driver was detained in a maximum security cell. He had no contact with other prisoners, officials said. 

At the time of his death, Driver was awaiting trial in the 2022 rape and killing of Naomi Irion. The former mining services worker was facing charges of murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, burglary and destruction of evidence in the 18-year-old’s disappearance and death.   

Troy Driver

“I want to express my sincerest condolences to the Irion family,” Sheriff Brad Pope said in prepared remarks on Sunday. “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Irion vanished in the early morning hours of March 12, 2022 from a Walmart parking lot in Fernley. She disappeared while waiting for a shuttle to her job at Panasonic.

RELATED: Naomi Irion's Brother Seeks To Help Others After Her Kidnapping, Killing

Detectives subsequently zeroed in on surveillance footage from the parking lot, which showed a man wearing a hoodie getting into the driver’s seat of Naomi’s car. Her empty vehicle was later recovered days later from a nearby industrial park. At the time, authorities said they’d uncovered evidence in the car that lead them to suspect her disappearance was connected to foul play. 

Two weeks after she went missing, Irion’s body was later found buried in a makeshift desert grave in Churchill County.

Naomi Irion Pd 1

Following his arrest, Driver pleaded not guilty to all charges, according to KRNV-DT. Prosecutors had previously suggested they might seek the death penalty in the case. 

Coincidentally, last August, speculation falsely swirled that Driver had died by suicide in a Lyon County jail cell. The misinformation later prompted county officials to publish a press release discounting the rumors, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.

RELATED: Nevada Teen Naomi Irion Was Shot In Head And Chest, Authorities Say

Prior to Driver’s death, Irion’s sister, Tammy Cartwright, had relocated from Texas to Nevada with her husband to sit in on the case’s pre-trial proceedings. 

Naomi Irion Suspect Pd

"I want to see justice for my sister," Tammy Cartwright told the Reno Gazette Journal in November 2022.  “What else can I give her but this?”

No other information was immediately available from law enforcement on Monday morning. The investigation into Driver’s death remains open and ongoing. Oxygen.com has reached out to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office for additional information.  

Per department policy, the Nevada State Police Division of Investigations will conduct an independent investigation into Driver's death.