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Suspect in sexual assault and murder of teen kidnapped from Walmart parking lot found asphyxiated in ‘maximum security jail cell’

Naomi Irion

Naomi Irion (center) was last seen alive on March 12, 2022 (right); the suspect (left, all photos Lyon County Sheriff’s Office) pictured at the Walmart parking lot.

The suspect in the sexual assault and murder of Naomi Irion, an 18-year-old kidnapped outside of a Walmart in Nevada on March 12, 2022, died in jail over the weekend before he could face trial.

Troy Driver, 43, “committed suicide by asphyxiation” in his “maximum security jail cell” at the Lyon County Jail, the sheriff’s office announced Sunday.

“On August 6, 2023, at 1817 hours, deputies assigned to the Lyon County Jail were conducting routine hourly cell checks and conducting inmate head counts when they discovered an inmate who was unresponsive,” Sheriff Brad Pope said in a statement. Authorities said that both deputies and responding fire department medical personnel attempted to revive Driver with “several rounds” of CPR, but such attempts were unsuccessful and the inmate was soon pronounced dead.

At the time of his death, Driver was “housed in a maximum security jail cell and had no contact with other inmates,” the sheriff said.

Naomi Irion (L) and Troy Driver (R)

Naomi Irion (L) and Troy Driver (R) (Lyon County Sheriff’s Office)

Because the murder suspect died in the custody of the jail, the sheriff said, the Nevada State Police Division of Investigations has been asked to examine the circumstances leading up to the apparent suicide.

Driver was awaiting trial in the murder of Naomi Irion, who was confirmed dead on March 29, 2022 after a tip led them to remains at a “gravesite” in a remote area. Authorities said that weeks earlier Irion had been waiting in the Fernley-area Walmart parking lot for a shuttle to take her to a nearby Panasonic factory, where she worked in the battery manufacturing department.

Authorities said that surveillance footage from just after 5:00 a.m. on the day of the kidnapping showed Irion’s car was parked. Suddenly, a man wearing a gray hoodie, jeans, and a mask — allegedly Driver — circled the parking lot before forcing his way into the driver’s seat.

“[S]he was abducted by a nondescript male who entered the driver’s seat of her vehicle,” the FBI said on a wanted poster at the time. “Three days later, Naomi’s vehicle was located next to the Sherman Williams Western Emulsion Plant.”

Initially arrested for kidnapping on March 25, 2022, Driver was later charged with murdering Irion by using a firearm and for destroying evidence to cover up a sexual assault. Irion was shot in the head and chest.

“[Driver] did willfully and unlawfully subject another person to sexual penetration against the person’s will or under conditions in which the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of the conduct,” court documents filed in July 2022 said. “[Driver] did subject Naomi Irion to sexual penetration, namely anal penetration, against her will or under conditions in which the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was mentally or physically incapable of resisting.”

Authorities alleged that Driver was also a felon in possession of a firearm.

Naomi Irion

Irion at a gas station (above courtesy of Lyon County Sheriff’s Office)just minutes before she went missing.

After Driver’s death in jail, Sheriff Pope expressed “sincere condolences to the Irion family.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with you,” he said.

Irion was survived by a brother, sister, and her parents.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.