Troy Driver is charged with the first-degree kidnapping of Naomi Irion in northern Nevada

RENO, Nevada — A man abducted and killed an 18-year-old woman whose body was found in a remote grave in the high desert of northern Nevada, sheriff’s detectives said Friday.

Troy Driver of Fernley was charged on Friday with murder using a deadly weapon, robbery, burglary and destruction of evidence. He has been held in Lyon County Jail on $750,000 bail since March 25 after his arrest for kidnapping Naomi Irion.

The 41-year-old driver has a violent criminal history and served more than a decade in a California prison before being released in 2012.

Irion, of Fernley, has been missing since March 12, when surveillance video showed a masked man wearing a hoodie getting into her car at around 5:25 a.m. in a Walmart lot about 30 miles east of Reno.

After arresting the driver, investigators following a lead found human remains in a burial site Tuesday in a remote area in neighboring Churchill County northeast of Fallon. An autopsy the next day confirmed it was Irion.

Lyon County Sgt. Bret Willey, in announcing the new charges Friday, said the investigation was continuing but no further details would be released immediately.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Driver would appear in court again ahead of a status hearing scheduled for April 5. He is also scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 12. His attorney, Mario Walther, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Driver was charged with first-degree kidnapping during a brief arraignment Wednesday in Lyon County’s Canal Township Justice Court.

The two-page criminal complaint, filed earlier that day, said he kidnapped Irion “on or about March 12” and “detained or detained her for the purpose of committing sexual assault and/or killing her.”

The Lyon and Churchill County Sheriff’s Offices said in a statement late Thursday that they are investigating Irion’s death as a homicide. They said they had determined her cause of death, but that information “cannot be released at this time because the circumstances of this event, if released, would jeopardize the ongoing investigation.”

Multiple news outlets have reported that Driver was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a 1997 murder case in Northern California.

Mendocino District Court records show that that summer he pled guilty to robbery, burglary, and firearms charges, and subsequently participated in a crime.

California Department of Justice spokeswoman Dana Simas said earlier this week she had no details on the crimes, but confirmed Driver was sentenced to 15 years on those charges on Aug. 19, 1997, released to state parole and off parole in 2012 was released from supervision in 2014.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Troy Driver is charged with the first-degree kidnapping of Naomi Irion in northern Nevada

Dais Johnston

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