UPDATE: A New Jersey man who admitted killing his former girlfriend, kidnapping their young son and fleeing to Tennessee last summer was sentenced to a plea-bargained 30 years in state prison, authorities said.
Tyler Rios, 28, must serve 25½ years before he’ll be eligible for parole under the deal brokered with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for killing 24-year-old Yasemin Uyar, taking his son with him as he drove her body to Tennessee in the trunk of her car and dumping the corpse in a field there on July 8, 2021.
That means he’d still be in his early 50s when he’s eventually released.
A Superior Court judge in Elizabeth approved the sentence last Friday after hearing from Uyar’s mother, Karen.
“Daddy choke Mommy,” Karen Uyar said their song, Sebastian, now 3, told her.
The abuse and eventual murder of his mother will leave him with “a lifetime of traumatic memories,” she told the judge.
Rios, of Highland Park, was emotionless throughout the sentencing hearing, witnesses said.
Authorities began searching for Uyar and Sebastian after the boy didn’t show up for daycare and she didn't arrive for scheduled work shifts on July 9, 2021.
Tyler Rios was quickly identified as a suspect after a welfare check by Rahway police found the mother and son gone from her home.
Rios and Uyar met at Highland Park High School. Years of abuse followed, family and friends said.
Rios was convicted of aggravated assault on a domestic violence victim and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with three years of conditional probation in February 2020, court records show.
Yasemin Uyar was the victim, a close family friend told Daily Voice.
Rios, as part of a plea deal, agreed to complete anger management classes and not have any contact with Uyar again.
He didn’t comply.
During his plea hearing this past April, Rios said he and Uyar got into a fierce argument in her Rahway home over where Sebastian, then 2, would be living when he lost control and choked her out.
The former Highland Park High School wrestler admitted that he put the body into a duffle bag, dumped it into her car and then took Sebastian with him to Tennessee, where he has relatives.
New Jersey State Police issued an Amber Alert that was sent to privately owned cell phones, broadcast on electronic billboards along highways in New Jersey and beyond, and widely shared via social media.
They also traced a phone call to Monterey, Tennessee, a tiny town of 2,850 people between Nashville and Knoxville on land that was once owned by Thomas Jefferson.
Union County prosecutor’s detectives called their colleagues at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office there.
Within minutes, a local sheriff spotted Uyar’s silver Ford Fiesta at the Bethel Inn Hotel off Route 40 in Monterey.
Rios refused to surrender, so police and FBI agents stormed the hotel room. They seized him without incident and recovered Sebastian, who they said was unharmed.
Rios then led federal agents and sheriff’s officers to a wooded area less than 10 miles away on Route 70, near Cookeville, TN, where they found Uyar’s body.
She’d died from strangulation and blunt force trauma, an autopsy found.
Originally charged with counts that included murder, Rios took a deal from prosecutors rather than risk trial.
In exchange for leniency at sentencing, he pleaded guilty on April 4 to first-degree aggravated manslaughter and to desecrating Uyar’s remains.
Union County Superior Court Judge John Deitch approved the prison term and conditions.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.