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(FERNLEY, Nevada) – A suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a Nevada teenager who was last seen in a Walmart parking lot has been arrested, authorities said Friday.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said it also seized a van “possibly involved” in the disappearance of 18-year-old Naomi Irion, which has since sparked a nationwide search.
The suspect was identified by the sheriff’s office as Troy Driver, 41, of Fallon, Nevada. He is being held for kidnapping.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing teenager remains active, authorities said.
“I’m so excited and happy, but I’m super terrified because we still haven’t got her back,” Diana Irion, Naomi’s mother, told Reno ABC affiliate KOLO after the arrest of the suspect. “They still have it or they hid it somewhere and they didn’t tell us where.”
The update comes nearly two weeks after Irion went missing.
She was last seen inside her car in the parking lot of a Walmart in Fernley, Nevada, outside of Reno, according to the sheriff’s office. Surveillance video captured a man getting into the driver’s seat of his car and driving off in an unknown direction with Irion in the passenger seat.
The sheriff’s office initially called her disappearance “suspicious in nature.” After locating her car on March 15 in an industrial park about a mile from Walmart, the sheriff’s office said investigators found evidence to suggest her disappearance was “criminal in nature.”
Casey Valley, Naomi’s brother, told KOLO he was “definitely optimistic” about his search after Driver’s arrest.
“Certainly,” he said. “I feel deep in my heart that Naomi is still alive.”
Investigators previously identified a Chevrolet pickup truck whose driver they believe may have a “direct connection” to its current whereabouts, the sheriff’s office said, which released an image of the vehicle while urging the public to help locate it. locate.
The sheriff’s office also released several photos and a video of the man who authorities say entered Irion’s car. He has a distinct gait that investigators hoped to help identify him.
Detectives did not release surveillance video showing the exact moment the suspect got into Irion’s car, citing the nature of the ongoing investigation. According to her brother, Casey Valley, who said he saw the video, Irion was sitting in the driver’s seat, but the suspect “said or did something to Naomi to make her move.”
Irion was expecting a shuttle on March 12 around 5 a.m. to take him to his job at Panasonic Energy of North America in the Reno area. Valley, who lives with Irion, reported her missing the next day when she never came home from work.
Irion’s family have made several public calls for his safe return.
“We need the help of everyone across the country as the incident happened so close to [Interstate] 80,” her mother, Diana Irion, said at a press conference earlier this week. “She could be anywhere, anywhere in the country.”
“Please save my daughter and bring her home,” she said.
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