Born and raised in Mendocino County, Troy Driver was the lead suspect of the March 2022 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Nevada woman Naomi Irion. Authorities in Nevada are reporting that he is dead after committing suicide via asphyxiation.
Driver was thought to have kidnapped Irion in the early morning dark of March 12, 2022, from a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, Nevada. Dressed in black from head to toe, Driver allegedly forced himself in her vehicle after which the pair drove away. Irion would be missing for nearly two weeks until March 31, 2023 when she was found buried in a rural grave deep within Nevada’s western desert. Irion had been shot in the head and chest.
As it turns out, Driver cut his criminal teeth in Mendocino County when he was involved in the murder of a Willits drug dealer on April 22, 1997. Paul Rodriguez was killed with a shotgun after Driver and three others would carefully manufacture the circumstances that led to an ambush. Subsequently, 17-year-old Driver stuffed Rodriguez’s body in the trunk of a vehicle and dumped the corpse off of Highway 128 east of Navarro.
Aside from the murder of Paul Rodriguez, in the years prior he was involved in a number of armed robberies targeting gas stations in Willits and Rohnert Park.
For those interested in Troy Driver’s criminal beginnings in Mendocino County, read our extensive coverage here.
The following is the totality of the recent press release issued by the Lyon’s County Sheriff’s Office about the jail suicide of the Troy Driver:
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. Upon discovering the inmate, Deputies immediately entered the cell and started lifesaving measures to include CPR. The on duty Jail Control Room Officer requested an ambulance, which was in turn dispatched to the jail. While deputies performed CPR on the inmate, medical personnel with the Yerington / Mason Valley Fire Department arrived and took over lifesaving attempts of the inmate. CPR was continued and after several rounds with no effect, fire department medical personnel contacted an emergency room doctor through regional medical control who was advised of the lifesaving attempt and advised medical personnel on scene to terminate CPR and pronounce the inmate deceased. The deceased inmate is identified as 43-year-old Troy Driver, who was in custody on murder charges and awaiting trial, for the murder of Naomi Irion. Preliminary details thus far indicate that Driver committed suicide by asphyxiation. Driver was housed in a maximum security jail cell and had no contact with other inmates. Per Lyon County Sheriff's Office policy, an outside agency is required to conduct in custody death investigations. The Nevada State Police Division of Investigations was requested to respond to the Lyon County jail to complete a full and thorough investigation surrounding the events leading to Driver's death. At this time, there are no further details surrounding the death and investigation that will be released. A press conference to release additional information surrounding the case and the death will be scheduled in the future. I want to express my sincerest condolences to the Irion family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.