Seven days after a woman is believed to have been abducted by a hooded man from a Walmart parking lot in Reno, Nevada, more than 400 people have gathered to form a search party.
Naomi Irion, 18, went missing around 5 a.m. on March 12 and on Saturday, members of the public signed up with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office to help search for her.
As part of the investigation, police earlier this week released stills from surveillance footage they say shows a hooded man walking from a nearby homeless encampment, standing around several vehicles, then gets into the car of 18-year-old Naomi Irion. , and driving away with her in her passenger seat.
“To me, it looked like a clear kidnapping,” Ms. Irion’s brother, Casey Valley, said, according to ABC News.
Tamara Cartwright, Naomi’s half-sister, who flew in to help from Houston, where the brothers grew up, said KHOU 11:: “I constantly have chest pains and I really try to distract myself by doing everything I can”.
“This was not an opportunity,” he says, commenting on the images of the suspect. “This was something he was thinking about and it looked very suspicious.”
“She loves people very much. And that is why she is so confident,” said Ms. Cartwright. “I’m so afraid someone has betrayed her trust.”
Naomi’s mother, Diana Irion, said: “Some monster is taking them, and you don’t know what happened, you don’t know where they are and no one even noticed that she was missing.”
Irion was last seen Saturday at 5 am in a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, near Reno, Nevada, where she was waiting for a bus to take her to work, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Television station KRNV reported that Ms. Irion worked at Panasonic but parked her car at Walmart.
Her family called the police when she didn’t show up for work and didn’t come home.
“They confirmed that he missed his shifts on Saturday and Sunday, which was really unusual,” Diana Irion said. “My daughter was extremely trustworthy.”
The sheriff’s office has said a person seen in the surveillance footage may be involved in the teen’s disappearance.
On Thursday, investigators revealed that the man said or did something to move Irion from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.
“She’s not a fighter, I mean, the guy who pushed her into a car, she froze. She didn’t do anything. She just froze,” her brother told reporters.
“We are not saying that this person was necessarily homeless. It came from that direction,” she added.
Police said they found the vehicle abandoned in a nearby industrial park on Tuesday. While investigators declined to say what they found in the car, they said evidence suggests Ms. Irion was missing due to a crime.
They added that they believe a truck driver is connected to Ms. Irion’s disappearance. Police believe a man driving a fairly new, dark Chevrolet High Country pickup may know where the 18-year-old is.
“We can’t lose sight of what’s really important,” Valley said, according to ABC. “And that’s Naomi’s life, and time is ticking.”
Valley said Irion moved to Fernley, east of Reno, in August of last year. Her father, Herve, and her mother live in South Africa.
“We beg you, if you have any information to contact the authorities,” his father said during a news conference on Thursday. The family has said they do not recognize the hooded man seen in still images taken from security footage reviewed by police.
Valley, who lives with Irion, told NBC News the suspect was hooded and wearing a mask, according to security footage.
“He went around the parking lot, maybe to make sure there were no witnesses,” Valley said. She “she came up behind the car and made her way to the driver’s side of the car. Maybe her door was open. He said or did something to get her to move into the passenger seat, and then he drove her car in an unknown direction.”
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement: “The forensic evidence uncovered, to date, continues to lead Lyon County investigators to believe that Naomi’s disappearance is suspicious in nature.”
He added that the office “is seeking any information regarding the disappearance and whereabouts of Naomi Irion, the Chevrolet truck and/or information regarding possible contacts that individuals may have had with Naomi.”
“We just want Naomi back, period,” Valley told NBC. “We just want Naomi, and we’re not going to stop until we find her.”
Mrs. Cartwright said, “I can’t think of how it could end other than us finding my sister.”