A New Jersey man who fled to Tennessee with his young son after killing the boy’s mother has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting to the lesser homicide charge and avoiding a murder trial.
Tyler Rios, 27, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count each of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and second-degree desecrating of human remains, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office announced on Tuesday in a statement obtained by Law&Crime.
The manslaughter plea means Rios won’t face a murder trial in the death of Yasemin Uyar, 24, his estranged girlfriend and mother to their son Sebastian Rios, 3.
Authorities found Uyar’s remains in July of 2021. Police say that after killing her, Rios stuffed her in a duffle bag and discarded her in a wooded area off Interstate 40.
A grand jury indicted Rios in October for murder in the first degree, kidnapping, desecrating human remains, endangering the welfare of a child, contempt by violating a domestic violence restraining order, and theft.
The case started with a high-profile AMBER Alert out of New Jersey on July 9, 2021. Authorities were looking for Sebastian, then 2, as well as Uyar, after Uyar didn’t come to work that day and Sebastian didn’t show up at day care.
Authorities now say that defendant Rios killed Uyar on July 8 in the driveway of her Rahway home, where she was strangled and sustained blunt force trauma. Rios allegedly put her in the trunk of his car, then fled with Sebastian to Tennessee, where he got rid of Uyar’s body.
Police found the child two days later, on July 10, in Tennessee.
“Through the relentless efforts of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the above agencies — as well as a result of the extraordinary assistance from the Putnam County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s Memphis Field Office and satellite offices – Sebastian Rios was found unharmed in Monterey, Tennessee on July 10th, when Tyler Rios was taken into custody without incident,” the UCPO statement said.
Rios eventually led authorities to Uyar’s body.
Prosecutors say they plan on asking that Rios serve 30 years behind bars: 25 years for the aggravated manslaughter charge and five years on the desecration count. His sentencing hearing has been tentatively scheduled for June 10.
At Monday’s hearing, Rios answered a series of questions from his attorney Nicholas Kormann. Rios said he got into an argument with Uyar at her apartment about where Sebastian would live, according to My Central Jersey.
“And during that argument you lost control of your emotions,” Kormann said.
“Yes,” Rios said.
Rios, who was a trained wrestler in high school, reportedly confirmed that he put his forearm across Uyar’s throat, and that he panicked when he realized he killed her.
Friends and family have said that Rios abused Uyar going back to their days in high school, the My Central Jersey report noted.
Yasemin’s mother said it was devastating to hear Rios confess in such a matter-of-fact way.
“There was no emotion to it,” Karen Uyar said, according to the My Central Jersey report. The bereaved mother said that while she believed Rios should spend the rest of his life in prison, she was open to Sebastian, now 3, deciding whether to one day reconnect with his father.
“Thirty-three is a mature, good age to make a competent, responsible decision about if he wants to have a relationship with his father,” she said. “That was my goal.”
[Image of Yasemin Uyar via New Jersey State Police; Tyler Rios via Putnam County Sheriff’s Office]
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