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Man Accused Of Kidnapping Naomi Irion Is Charged With Murder After Her Body Is Found In Remote 'Gravesite'
Naomi Irion's older brother has been critical of how law enforcement's handling of the case since Troy Driver has been charged with her murder.
The man accused of kidnapping a Nevada teenager from a Walmart parking lot last month is now charged with her murder after the 18-year-old’s body was discovered in a remote “gravesite.”
The Lyon’s County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that Troy Driver, 41, was now being charged with open murder with a deadly weapon in the death of Naomi Irion, along with charges of robbery, burglary and destruction of evidence.
“This investigation continues,” the sheriff’s office said. “Additional information will be released when available.”
Irion disappeared in the early morning hours of March 12 as she was waiting in the Walmart parking lot for a shuttle to her job at Panasonic.
Authorities have said a man was captured on surveillance footage “walking from a nearby ‘homeless camp’ lurking in vehicles” before he was seen getting into the driver’s seat of her car at 5:24 a.m. and driving out of the parking lot a minute later.
Irion’s abandoned vehicle was found in the parking lot of the Sherman Williams Western Emulsion Plant, not far from the Walmart, three days later.
Driver was arrested on March 25 and initially charged with kidnapping. Although investigators have released few details in the case, 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.”
In the days following the grim discovery, Irion’s older brother, Casey Valley, has voiced criticism of the law enforcement effort to find his sister.
According to a post on Facebook, Valley said he initially reported his sister missing on March 13 at approximately 9:30 p.m. He said a deputy never came to speak with him, but did call several hours later around 11:23 p.m.
Valley said the deputy never filed a missing persons report until 9 p.m. the next day after Valley had gone to the Walmart himself, found the security footage of a man getting into his sister’s vehicle and reported his finding to authorities.
“Naomi’s car wasn’t found until 36 hours after I made the initial call, and it was UNDER A HALF A MILE AWAY, IN CLEAR VIEW OF THE INTERSTATE,” he wrote.
Valley said the search for his sister would have gotten underway sooner had the deputy issued a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) alert for his sister’s vehicle or filed a missing person’s report earlier.
“I cannot stress enough how important the handling of this case was in the beginning for my sisters life,” he wrote.
Valley echoed his sentiments during an interview with Fox News, saying it's possible the case could have had a different outcome had law enforcement officers gotten an earlier start.
“I don’t know what the time of death for my sister is, but there’s a chance that law enforcement could have found her alive.”
Valley said a “lot of” deputies apologized to him later on in the case.
"I don't have anything against Lyon County,” he added. “I'm so thankful for them answering my texts at 3 o'clock in the morning and calling me when there's an important update and bringing me into the command center of the searches and everything that they did to make our family be assured how hard they were working — and they are still working. And I don't want any ‘defund the police’ talk to be attached to this. This is about the police needing more resources. Period.”
Valley said after discovering the surveillance footage showing a man entering his sister’s vehicle his “blood ran cold.”
“My heart leaped out of my chest,” he said. “It was sickening.”
Irion was living with Valley at the time she disappeared after moving to Nevada in August from her parent’s home in South Africa. Irion’s father is stationed in South Africa as part of his State Department job.
Valley is hoping is sister’s case will highlight the limited resources available to law enforcement officers and ignite change in how authorities approach missing persons cases.
“In the case of my sister … the first 36 hours after I called it in as a missing person … this case was not handled in a way that was not considered procedurally compliant,” he said.
The family is promoting the hashtag #trustthefamily to emphasize how important it is for law enforcement authorities to take the family account seriously in missing person's cases.
Driver’s bail was set at $750,000 last week before the additional charges were filed against him. He remains in custody at the Lyon County jail.