Naomi Irion is a missing 18-year-old Nevada woman who police fear was kidnapped from a parking lot in Fernley. She was possibly taken on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Police believe she was taken in her own car. The vehicle was found abandoned in a parking lot on Tuesday, but Irion has not been located.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance photos showing Irion and a potential suspect on March 16. Irion was last seen in the parking lot of a Walmart on Newlands Drive in Fernely, according to the sheriff’s office. She works for Panasonic in Reno and was waiting for a shuttle to take her to work, her family said.
The sheriff’s office said in an update on Wednesday, March 16, that the suspect could be driving a dark 2020 or newer Chevrolet 2500 High Country 4-Door pickup truck. “The forensic evidence discovered to date continues to lead Lyon County investigators to believe Naomi’s disappearance is suspicious in nature and that the driver of the above vehicle has a direct connection to her disappearance and whereabouts,” the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities said Irion is 5’11” and has dyed black hair and green eyes. She also has a septum piercing in her nose. She was last seen wearing a blue Panasonic T-shirt, a gray cardigan sweater, gray pants and brown boots. She was carrying a black purse. The possible suspect was wearing a gray hoodie and blue jeans or pants.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information about Irion and her disappearance to contact them at 775-463-6620 and reference case number 22LY01068. “At this time our trained teams are searching the area for evidence. We are not requesting any help yet for public assistance. Thank you for any requests and offers,” the sheriff’s office said.
Here’s what you need to know about Naomi Irion:
1. Surveillance Video Showed a Man Walking From a Nearby Homeless Camp & Getting Into the Driver’s Seat of Irion’s Car Before Driving Off, the Sheriff’s Office Says
Naomi Irion was in the driver’s seat of her car in the Walmart parking lot about 5 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, getting ready to get out to go to a shuttle bus, police and her family say. The sheriff’s office said surveillance video showed a man walking up to Irion’s car from a nearby homeless camp. The video shows him getting into the driver’s seat of Irion’s car and then driving off.
Irion’s car, a 1992 Mercury Sable, was found behind the Sherwin Williams in Fernley, Irion’s family says. The store is located at 1891 Duffy Road, less than a mile away from the Walmart at 1550 West Newlands Drive East. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said “The vehicle has since been retrieved, searched and forensically analyzed. Forensic evidence has been recovered and is being expedited for testing through the Washoe County Forensic Investigation Section.”
Irion’s brother, Casey Valley, wrote in a Facebook group set up to help in the search, “I just want everyone to know that I’m doing everything I can. Please feel free to reach out with any information, I am working directly with Lyon county detectives. My suspicions so far: This seems like a pre-meditated act. I don’t want to say much more because I need to keep the investigation on track.”
2. Her Family Is Begging the Public for Help in Finding Naomi & Her Mother Says ‘She’s Such an Amazing Person. She’s Very Strong, She’s Very Intelligent. She’s Kind & Compassionate’
During an interview with the “All American Dream Chaser” on YouTube, Naomi Irion’s mother, Diane Irion, said, “She’s such an amazing person. She’s very strong, she’s very intelligent. She’s kind and compassionate. She is generous and giving. She’s one of the most amazing young women. She’s lived all over the world.”
Her mother said that there was evidence of “suspicious activity or violence inside the car.” She said her daughter followed a routine and someone could have been planning to attack her because they knew when she would be in the parking lot.
Diane Irion said, tearfully, during the YouTube interview, “Hopefully law enforcement can find something, anything, that will distinguish this person, this monster, from other people. What kind of person does that? Takes an 18-year-old girl. Someone’s daughter, sister, from their family, hurts them. What kind of monster does that? It’s evil. It’s wrong.”
3. Naomi Irion, a Houston-Area Native Whose Father Works for the U.S. State Department, Recently Moved to Nevada From South Africa to Live With Her Brother for a Gap Year, Her Mother Says
Naomi Irion recently graduated from the American International School Johannesburg in South Africa, where her parents live, her mother told the All American Dream Chaser. She said they were living in South Africa because Naomi’s father works for the U.S. Department of State in the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria. Naomi Iron was born and raised in the Houston area before starting her journey around the world with her family when she was about 13, her family said. Diane Irion said her daughter decided to take a gap year before starting university and moved to Nevada to live with her 32-year-old brother in Fernley.
Naomi Irion moved to Fernley in August 2022 to spend some time “figuring out her life,” her mother said during the YouTube interview. She was working at Panasonic and was recently promoted and “tapped for leadership positions.” Her mother said their family has also lived in Russia, France, Ukraine and Germany.
Her mother says Naomi has three young adopted brothers who are from Irpin, Ukraine, near Kyiv. Naomi’s father, Herve Irion, was traveling to the U.S. to help in the search, while her mother was staying in South Africa. “I’m here with them now,” she said of Naomi’s siblings. “Trying to shield them.”
Diane Irion said during the YouTube interview that her daughter had only recently learned to drive because when she was living overseas she wasn’t able to get a license because she wasn’t a citizen. “She was so excited to get her license and have a car and do all the things that all the American kids get to do, she’s never gotten to do,” her mother said.
4. Irion’s Mother Says Her Daughter ‘Freezes Up When She’s Scared … That’s Probably What Happened’
Diane Irion told All American Dream Chaser that her daughter’s normal routine was to take her car to the Walmart parking lot and then she would take a shuttle to work at Panasonic in Reno. Her mother said her daughter’s apparent abduction was then caught on video.
“She was sitting in the driver’s seat of the car getting ready to get out, she probably had her door partially opened or unlocked, she was getting ready to get out of the car and go to the bus,” her mother said during the interview. “And an unknown male opened the driver’s door, said or did something to make her slide over to the passenger seat and then he got into the driver’s seat and took off with her.”
She added that police initially didn’t think it was an abduction, “because she just slid over in the seat and didn’t resist. But I spoke to several of her friends who had been chatting with her on Snapchat minutes before this happened and they said she had no plans to meet anyone. She was just going to work. My daughter is not very good in a crisis or an emergency. What she tends to do is freeze up and just comply. She’s not a fighter. She’s a lovey, sweet person and she doesn’t fight. She freezes up when she’s scared. That’s probably what happened. … That’s the last time anyone saw or heard from her.”
5. Irion’s Family Has Started a GoFundMe to Help With Costs Related to the Search
Irion’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs related to the search and to help her parents and siblings travel to Nevada. “Our family will be using the money from this fundraiser to assist with the airplane flights of family members (I live in Texas and our parents live in South Africa) and any other costs associated with the search for Naomi,” her sister, Tamara Cartwright, wrote on the fundraiser. “Thank you so much for any help you can provide, even if it is just sharing the link to this fundraiser. Every dollar and minute of your time counts towards finding our daughter, sister, and friend.”
Irion’s mother asked that her daughter’s friends or anyone she has been talking to on social media who may know who else she has been recently communicating with or who could possibly want to harm or take her to contact the sheriff’s office. She said any information, even if it may seem little or insignificant, could be important.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release, “The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is seeking any information regarding the disappearance and whereabouts of Naomi Irion, the Chevrolet pickup vehicle and/or information concerning possible contacts that persons may have had with Naomi. If you have information regarding this investigation, please contact Detective Erik Kusmerz regarding case number 22LY01068 at 775-577-5206 ext 2 or email email@example.com or Secret Witness of Northern Nevada at 775-322-4900.”