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Authorities Say Naomi Irion's Death Is Being Investigated As A Homicide, But Decline To Release Cause Of Death
The sheriff's office declined to release 18-year-old Naomi Irion's exact cause of death because they said "the circumstances around that event if released would compromise the ongoing investigation.”
Nevada teenager Naomi Irion’s death is being investigated as a “homicide,” but investigators have not yet released her exact cause of death.
The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday that investigators are opting not to release more information about the death “at this time” because “the circumstances around that event if released would compromise the ongoing investigation.”
Irion’s body was recovered Tuesday at a “gravesite” in a remote area along Coal Canyon Road in Churchill County.
The grim discovery put an end to a weeks long search to find the 18-year-old, who disappeared in the early morning hours of March 12 after a man was seen forcing his way into her vehicle at a Walmart parking lot and driving away.
Troy Driver, 41, was taken into custody in connection with the alleged kidnapping last week and is currently being held on a $750,000 bond as the investigation into the abduction continues.
A criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com alleges that Driver “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.”
Irion’s older brother, Casey Valley, who has been vocal throughout the search to try to find the teenager, wrote on Facebook that he’s still struggling to come to terms with the loss.
“I can’t believe this,” he wrote. “I’m at a loss for words.”
Valley also thanked the community for their support and said the family’s focus has shifted to achieving justice for Irion.
“Now comes a different kind of effort,” he said. “Naomi was taken from us far too soon.”
Irion had driven into the Walmart parking lot in Fernley, Nevada around 5 a.m. on March 12, where she planned to wait for a shuttle to her job at Panasonic.
Lyon County Sheriff’s Detective Erik Kusmertz said at an earlier press conference that the 18-year-old was active on social media from 5:09 a.m. to 5:23 a.m. before surveillance footage captured a man, wearing a hooded jacket, forcing his way into the car at 5:24 a.m., according to CNN. The car, a blue 1992 Mercury Sable, drove off a minute later.
Investigators discovered the vehicle abandoned three days later next to the Sherman Williams Western Emulsion plant, not far from the Walmart, according to the FBI.
At the time, authorities said there was evidence inside the vehicle that led them to believe Irion’s disappearance had been criminal in nature.
Investigators have declined to release any further details on the case, citing the ongoing investigation.