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Family, sheriff plea for help to locate missing Nevada woman

Family, sheriff plea for help to locate missing Nevada woman
Lyon County Sheriff's Office via AP
This photo taken from store surveillance video and provided by the Lyon County Sheriff's Office, shows Naomi Irion, 18, of Fernley, Nev., making a purchase shortly before authorities say she disappeared before dawn on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

FERNLEY, Nev. (AP) — Family members and a sheriff in northern Nevada issued a plea for public help Thursday to find an 18-year-old woman who they said has not been seen since a man wearing a mask and a dark hooded sweatshirt got into her car last weekend outside a Walmart store in rural Fernley.

Naomi Irion’s older brother, Casey Valley, told reporters Thursday that store surveillance video showed a man approached the driver’s side of his sister’s car before dawn last Saturday, and that the video appeared to show that he said or did something to make her move over before he got in and drove away.

“I was mortified,” Valley said. “He circled around the parking lot, maybe to make sure there were no witnesses. He came up behind the car and forced his way into the driver’s side of the car.”

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Lyon County Sheriff Frank Hunewill said her car was found a short distance away and that evidence suggested a suspect may be driving a dark four-door Chevrolet 2500 High Country pickup truck.

Fernley is a town of about 20,000 residents a 30-minute drive east of Reno — at crossroads including Interstate 80 and U.S. 50, which in Nevada is was nicknamed “The Loneliest Road in America” in the 1980s.

Valley, 32, said his sister has lived with him since last August in Fernley and usually catches a bus from the Walmart parking lot to work at a Reno-area Panasonic facility. He said that when she didn’t come home Sunday, he knew something was wrong and contacted family members and authorities.

Photos distributed by the sheriff’s office showed Irion making a convenience store purchase shortly before her brother said he believes she was abducted.

Irion’s sister, Tamara Cartwright, said she was worried that after five days, “she could be anywhere right now.”

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“We have to stay optimistic. We have no choice,” Cartwright said, choking back tears as she stood with their father, Herve Irion. He said he works in South Africa and arrived in the Reno area Wednesday to help in the search.

The sheriff’s office, in a statement, called the disappearance “suspicious in nature.”

Hunewill said authorities in neighboring counties and the FBI were involved in the investigation.