Family of ‘kidnapped’ teenager Naomi Irion, 18, say they’re counting on their spirit: ‘She made it then, she can make it now’

nAomi Irion’s family refers to her as a “miracle birth”.

When her mom in Houston was pregnant with the now 18-year-old, there was “no amniotic fluid” for weeks before delivery, says Ms. Irion’s older brother, Casey Valley The Independent.

“We were all expecting the worst,” said Mr. Valley, who was 14 at the time and, along with family and doctors, was worried about the newborn’s respiratory and urinary tract. “She made it last minute…the first thing she did was pee and cry” — a welcome sign of these vital organ systems.

“She made it then and she can make it now,” says Mr Valley, 32, of his little sister – who has been missing since March 12, when security footage caught the teenager walking with a hooded suspect from a Walmart in drove her car out of a parking lot in Fernley, Nevada.

Mr. Valley, a Navy veteran and Apple employee, moved to the state to work two years ago and was joined by his sister after she graduated high school in Pretoria, South Africa, where she spent several years of her youth. Her father is a diplomat and her mother a teacher; Ms. Irion grew up around the world but was in a “protected environment in the diplomatic community — and she didn’t have a lot of freedom,” Mr. Valley says The Independent.

She viewed a move to Nevada as “basically a launch pad” for her adult life, he says — and she quickly landed a job, a car, and a social circle, both in Fernley and on the internet. At the time of her disappearance, she was saving for her own apartment. As a proud member of the LGBT community and an advocate for women’s rights, she also started dating online, says Mr. Valley The Independent.

Since her disappearance earlier this month, he’s worried that she might not have been prepared for it all.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think she has the right tools in her toolbox for things like that,” he says; Mr Valley has theories about her disappearance but will not reveal them as the investigation is ongoing.

He describes his sister as “naive and very sheltered … also very childlike”.

Naomi Irion’s mother Diana (left) and her brother Casey Valley (right) request information about her whereabouts at a news conference March 22


He’s just back after looking for her in the desert on Wednesday night; The day before, authorities held a press conference asking for information and a vigil was held in Fernley with hundreds of people wishing and praying for the best possible outcome. Mr Casey’s mother and stepfather had flown in from South Africa and Ms Irion’s sister, Tamara Cartwright, flew in from Texas.

There are seven siblings in the family, including three boys between the ages of 8 and 13 who were adopted from Ukraine three years ago. One of them spoke at Tuesday’s conference and could barely find the words to plead for his sister’s safe return.

Naomi Irion: Missing woman hunted when hooded man ‘kidnapped’ her in Walmart parking lot.

“We cry a lot,” says Mr. Valley The Independent. “We all cry a lot. It’s a very emotional, very fragile time. I feel very protective… I feel like I failed [to] prepare Naomi for this evil world. I’m the big brother.”

What he is counting on, however, is his sister’s personality.

“She’s very stubborn,” he says, half laughing. “I’m sure everyone involved with her right now is involved with it.”

Mr. Valley had gone to bed early that Saturday night; Since his sister’s days began before sunrise, he thought nothing of her not being there on Sunday morning.

(Facebook/Lyon County Sheriff’s Department)

But then she didn’t come back on Sunday night and neither friends nor family had heard from her. Mr. Valley began calling jails and hospitals in all counties to no avail. His stepfather in South Africa, who has access to Ms Irion’s accounts, confirmed that her last purchase was made at around 5am at a petrol station near Walmart.

A friend of Mr. Valley’s girlfriend was the one who suggested Walmart might have some leads, he said.

“We located security at Walmart and they were very helpful – and I’m very grateful to them for barging in and letting us show us the footage,” Mr Valley said at a news conference last week.

Footage showed his little sister having an alarming interaction with a hooded man in the parking lot.

“This person said or did something to Naomi to get her to switch from the driver’s side to the passenger side,” he said, noting that “I reported it as a kidnapping at the time.”

He called Panasonic. Ms. Irion had not shown up at work or received a phone call all weekend. The reality of the family was about to turn into a living nightmare.

According to the evidence, after buying an energy drink at a gas station and parking at Walmart, Ms Irion scrolled on her phone on social media until 5:23 a.m., according to records. Then their activity stopped.

The teenager’s car was found two days after her disappearance, abandoned in an industrial area and showing signs of suspicious activity, authorities said.

Her phone was last traced in an area near Wadsworth, less than three miles away; It hasn’t been used since, and authorities have found no evidence of the device she used so devotedly, despite extensive official and voluntary searches that have included everything from ATVs to horses.

Naomi Irion was last seen in Nevada on March 12th


Police have since released footage showing the suspect – footage of him pacing erratically in front of the store, cars and their headlights.

Focus has also shifted to a vehicle pictured nearby, a pickup truck that authorities believe the suspect had access to. It is a 2020 Chevrolet 4-door pickup truck or newer in dark color and priced at least $50,000, although the license plates have not yet been identified.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Valley, Ms Irion’s mother, sister and 13-year-old brother choked while speaking at the local news conference. In addition to asking for information about the truck, they also placed great emphasis on social media and the role they may have played in her disappearance, as well as possible leads.

“What I really want to say is that if you have any information at all, you must come forward,” Ms Cartwright said on Tuesday. “If you have any information on the vehicle, if you have any information on the suspect, if you have any information on my sister, you need to come forward…immediately.”

She added: “This is life or death for my sister. Life or death.

Se cree que el camión lo conducía un hombre que sabe donde se encuentra Naomi Irion, de 18 años, según la policia.

(Lyon County Sheriff’s Office)

“You don’t need anyone’s approval before calling law enforcement; this is life or death for a beautiful, fun and amazing sister, daughter and friend… she is just beginning her adult life. She hasn’t even gone to college yet. She just graduated from high school.”

Diana Irion, who traveled 36 hours from her home in South Africa, expressed concerns on Tuesday that her daughter may be very far from the alleged abduction site.

“Because the incident happened so close to I-80, it could be anywhere — anywhere in the country,” Ms. Irion said.

Lyon County Deputy Sheriff Eric Kusmerz also reiterated that multiple agencies were searching “statewide” for Ms. Irion.

“We’re releasing everything we can,” he said Tuesday, but “there’s a lot more we know.”

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