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The ex-convict who has been accused of kidnapping 18-year-old Naomi Irion – who has been missing since March 12 – made his initial court appearance in Nevada on Wednesday as the searching for the teenager continued.

Troy Driver, 41, appeared before Canal Township Justice Court Judge Lori Matheus, who ruled that his bail will remain at $750,000. 

If Driver is able to post bail, he will be required to wear a GPS monitor as a condition of his release. He also must stay away from Fernley. Nevada, where Irion’s kidnapping took place. 

Driver appeared in court via video conference from Lyon County Jail. He is due back in court on April 5. 

Following Driver’s initial court appearance, Irion’s brother, Casey Valley, who has been coordinating search efforts, made a statement to the press, saying in part of the suspected kidnapper: ‘he’s the only one that can help us bring Naomi home. He is the only one that we know about.’

Valley also said he feels ‘pretty neutral’ about the possibility that Driver will be released on bail.  

Driver was apprehended last Friday in connection with Irion’s disappearance. The search for the 18-year-old continues and the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to her safe return.

Irion’s brother, Casey Valley, wrote on his Facebook page, where he has been sharing updates on the case, that his family ‘don’t have any reason to believe that Naomi is not alive.’ 

Driver, who previously served 12 years in California state prison for his role in a methamphetamine dealer’s murder, is scheduled appear at Canal Township Justice Court in Fernley, Nevada, later on Wednesday.  

Irion, the daughter of a US State Department staffer, was last seen when a masked man wearing a hooded sweatshirt got into her vehicle outside a Walmart store in Fernley, which is 30 miles east of Reno. 

‘I’ve been assured that there is no reason to believe Naomi has been harmed or is not alive, so we still have hope in our family,’ Valley, who has been coordinating the search for his sister, told Fox News Digital. ‘We still have hope in our family. 

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Troy Driver, 41, made his initial court appearance in Nevada on Wednesday and had his bail kept at $750,000 in connection with the kidnapping of Naomi Irion

Troy Driver, 41, made his initial court appearance in Nevada on Wednesday and had his bail kept at $750,000 in connection with the kidnapping of Naomi Irion

Troy Driver, 41, made his initial court appearance in Nevada on Wednesday and had his bail kept at $750,000 in connection with the kidnapping of Naomi Irion

The family of missing Nevada woman Naomi Irion, 18, say the man suspected in her kidnapping is not talking, but they have no reason to believe she has been harmed

The family of missing Nevada woman Naomi Irion, 18, say the man suspected in her kidnapping is not talking, but they have no reason to believe she has been harmed

The family of missing Nevada woman Naomi Irion, 18, say the man suspected in her kidnapping is not talking, but they have no reason to believe she has been harmed  

Troy Driver, 41, faces kidnapping charges in the March 12 disappearance of Naomi Irion, 18, in Fernley, Nevada

Troy Driver, 41, faces kidnapping charges in the March 12 disappearance of Naomi Irion, 18, in Fernley, Nevada

Driver was arrested on Friday and booked into the Lyon County Jail

Driver was arrested on Friday and booked into the Lyon County Jail

If Driver is able to post bail, he will be required to wear a GPS monitor and stay away from Fernley, Nevada 

‘We feel that Naomi is alive, and she’s still out there somewhere. And she wants to come home, and we want her to come home. There’s a lot of people making a lot of speculative comments.’  

In a Facebook post on Monday, Valley stressed that Driver’s safety was ‘very important’ to his family until his sister is located, and he would not want to see any harm come to him. 

‘This man is the only person that I know about that can give information that can help bring Naomi home safe,’ he wrote.

Criminal records show that Driver, who previously lived in California, was convicted in 1997 of accessory to a murder after the fact in relation to the killing of 19-year-old Paul Steven Rodriguez. 

Driver’s rap sheet in California also includes convictions on charges of second-degree robbery and burglary.  

Naomi Irion still has not been located and search for the Nevada teen continues

Naomi Irion still has not been located and search for the Nevada teen continues

Naomi Irion still has not been located and search for the Nevada teen continues

This article published in the Ukiah Daily Journal in 1997 recorded Driver's arrest in connection of a 19-year-old meth dealer's murder in California

This article published in the Ukiah Daily Journal in 1997 recorded Driver's arrest in connection of a 19-year-old meth dealer's murder in California

This article published in the Ukiah Daily Journal in 1997 recorded Driver’s arrest in connection of a 19-year-old meth dealer’s murder in California 

An unidentified man in a hoodie was caught on video approaching Naomi's car in the Walmart parking lot after circling the area on March 12

An unidentified man in a hoodie was caught on video approaching Naomi's car in the Walmart parking lot after circling the area on March 12

An unidentified man in a hoodie was caught on video approaching Naomi’s car in the Walmart parking lot after circling the area on March 12

Naomi is seen buying snacks at a gas station convenience store on her way to a her factory job

Naomi is seen buying snacks at a gas station convenience store on her way to a her factory job

Naomi is seen buying snacks at a gas station convenience store on her way to a her factory job

The Ukiah Daily Journal reported that in April 1997, Rodriguez, who was a methamphetamine dealer from Willits, California, was shot in the head by his 17-year-old girlfriend, Alissa Marie Moore.

Driver, who was 17 years old at the time, and 19-year-old Carl Herbert Dulinksy helped Moore dispose of Rodriguez’ body and hide his torched car in a nearby forest.

The trio of suspects were arrested after the victim’s remains were discovered two weeks after the killing.

Driver’s sister, Sharla Driver Cassidy, was also implicated in his crimes after she admitted to driving the car used to lure Rodriguez to his death. She also acted as the getaway driver in her brother’s robberies, which he claimed to have committed to help his sister buy plane tickets to Italy.  

Four months later, Driver pleaded guilty to the accessory charge related to the murder. He also admitted to robbing a convenience store and a service station, and to breaking into a hardware store.

Driver was sentenced to 15 years in state prison but was released after 12 years.

Since regaining his freedom more than a decade ago, Driver settled in Nevada, living in Elko County, and, more recently, in Lyon County, and working in construction. 

According to his LinkedIn page, Driver is currently employed as project superintendent at Ledcor, a construction company operating throughout the US and Canada. 

A spokesperson for Ledcor confirmed Driver’s employment status to DailyMail.com. 

‘Ledcor is fully cooperating with the FBI and law enforcement officials in their investigation,’ the company representative said in a written statement. ‘We have also encouraged employees who might have information that could help with the investigation to immediately contact the authorities. We hope for the safe return of Naomi Irion to her family.’  

Naomi is seen walking before a man got into her car and drove off with her

Naomi is seen walking before a man got into her car and drove off with her

It is unclear if she knew her alleged kidnapper

It is unclear if she knew her alleged kidnapper

Naomi is seen walking before a man got into her car and drove off with her. It is unclear if she knew her alleged kidnapper  

The man in the hoodie is seen walking in the Walmart parking lot. Police have not said whether Driver is the man in the video

The man in the hoodie is seen walking in the Walmart parking lot. Police have not said whether Driver is the man in the video

The man in the hoodie is seen walking in the Walmart parking lot. Police have not said whether Driver is the man in the video

Police said they located and impounded the Chevrolet Silverado High Country truck that was 'possibly involved' in the crime and searched it for evidence

Police said they located and impounded the Chevrolet Silverado High Country truck that was 'possibly involved' in the crime and searched it for evidence

Police said they located and impounded the Chevrolet Silverado High Country truck that was ‘possibly involved’ in the crime and searched it for evidence

Police have not said whether or not they believe Driver is the man seen in surveillance footage from before Irion’s disappearance. 

In the clip, Irion can be seen parking her car in the Walmart lot and sitting in the driver’s seat while she waited for a company shuttle to take her to her job at Panasonic. An unidentified man wearing a hoodie was filmed approaching Naomi’s car after circling the area.

It’s unclear if she was in the store at the time he broke into the vehicle or if she was in the car, but footage shows the pair driving off with the man in the driver’s seat. 

The pair then drove out of the lot with the man behind the wheel. Her abandoned car was found less than a mile away on March 15 but there has been no sign of Naomi since then.  

Police said there was ‘evidence of a crime’ inside the car, but did not reveal what they found.

Police have not confirmed if Driver is the man seen in surveillance or confirmed if Driver knew Irion. 

Irion’s family said the teen went on a date with an unknown man the day before she vanished and had complained about being sexually harassed at work.

Panasonic knew about the harassment and had handled it ‘internally,’ according to Naomi’s brother. 

Naomi's father Herve Irion

Naomi's father Herve Irion

When she was around 13, the family moved to Moscow, then they went to Frankfurt and finally settled in South Africa

When she was around 13, the family moved to Moscow, then they went to Frankfurt and finally settled in South Africa

Naomi’s father Herve Irion works for the State Department. When she was around 13, the family moved to Moscow, then they went to Frankfurt and finally settled in South Africa

Irion¿s brother, Casey Valley (right), said that the family were excited by Driver's arrest and 'very curious'

Irion¿s brother, Casey Valley (right), said that the family were excited by Driver's arrest and 'very curious'

Irion’s brother, Casey Valley (right), said that the family were excited by Driver’s arrest and ‘very curious’

Her distraught family revealed to DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview last week that the 18-year-old was exploring life as a free, young American woman after growing up in sheltered communities in Russia, Germany and South Africa – a result of her father’s job with the State Department.

Irion moved to America last year to live with her older brother Casey Valley, an Apple employee who served in the Navy as a nuclear machinist from 2009 to 2016. She wanted to learn how to drive, get a job, go on dates and attend community college. 

Fernley, where she was living with her brother, is a safe area where the residents are stunned by what has happened.

The day before she vanished, Naomi went on a date with a man who has not been named in Reno. It’s likely they met on a dating app but her family does not know which one. She had accounts on Tinder, Hinge and Bumble.

Her family does not think he is involved in her disappearance but say law enforcement is aware of him. Before she was taken, Naomi was enjoying living in America after years of being sheltered, they said.

‘She really wanted to experience life in America being an American kid. Most kids get to learn how to drive a car and go on dates and get some freedom but in the diplomatic community overseas, you can’t have that. You can’t learn how to drive a car. You can’t really go on dates safely.

‘You have to be secure and there’s a lot of security that keeps us safe. She hadn’t experienced life without that yet.

‘She really wanted to explore herself as a free American young woman and what that looked like for her.’

‘She was so excited to move back to America,’ her mother, Diana, told DailyMail.com on Tuesday after flying in to Nevada from South Africa, where she still lives with her husband and their three younger sons.

Naomi's family say she had accounts on Hinge, Bumble and Tinder

Naomi's family say she had accounts on Hinge, Bumble and Tinder

She had been meeting people online and at work, and was a 'member of the LGBTQ community', her family said

She had been meeting people online and at work, and was a 'member of the LGBTQ community', her family said

Naomi’s family say she had accounts on Hinge, Bumble and Tinder. She had been meeting people online and at work, and was a ‘member of the LGBTQ community’, her family said

Diana’s husband, Naomi’s father Herve Irion, works for the foreign service and has held posts in Moscow, Frankfurt and Pretoria. He is now in Nevada with his wife Diana and their three Ukrainian-born adopted sons to join the search for Naomi.

Until this year, Naomi had never driven nor gone on dates freely. She was meeting people ‘online’ and at work, just like other teenagers and adults, her family said.

She was excited about having a car, a job in the Panasonic factory in Reno, where she was making friends. She moved to Fernley to live with her older brother and his long-term girlfriend Nikki last year after graduating from the American school in South Africa.

Her plan was to use her brother’s safe home as a launchpad for her own life, saving up enough money from her job at Panasonic to afford her own place, and enrolling in community college.    

Source: Daily Mail

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