ELIZABETH, NJ — On Sept. 29, a Union County grand jury returned a six-count indictment against a man charged with killing his former girlfriend and kidnapping their 2-year-old son, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced Sept. 30.
Tyler Rios, 27, of East Orange, is charged with one count each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, desecrating human remains, endangering the welfare of a child, contempt by violating a domestic violence restraining order and theft in connection with the kidnapping of his son and murder of the child’s mother, 24-year-old Yasemin Uyar, of Rahway. The indictment alleges that on July 8, Rios kidnapped their child, Sebastian, and murdered Uyar.
The July incident that resulted in a widely broadcast Amber Alert launched a multistate investigation, which led to the recovery of the child and the discovery of Uyar’s body in Tennessee.
An investigation led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office — and assisted by members of the FBI’s Newark Field Office and satellite offices, the New Jersey State Police, and the Rahway Police Department — led to Rios being identified as a suspect in the case after Sebastian did not show up for day care on July 9 and Uyar did not arrive for scheduled work shifts, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who is prosecuting the case. A welfare check was conducted on Uyar’s home by members of the Rahway Police Department, but no one was found inside, Grady said.
Shortly thereafter, the 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.
Through the efforts of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the above-named agencies — as well as a result of assistance from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee — Sebastian was found unharmed in Monterey, Tenn., on July 10, when Rios was taken into custody without incident. Later in the day, investigators located Uyar’s body in a wooded area nearby, off I-40.
An autopsy performed on Uyar revealed that her death resulted from strangulation and blunt force trauma.
Rios was extradited back to New Jersey on July 16 and remains housed in the Essex County Correctional Facility pending an Oct. 12 post-indictment arraignment before Judge John M. Deitch of the Union County Superior Court.
“We are grateful for the collaboration with the many local and federal law enforcement agencies who assisted our office in not only apprehending Mr. Rios, but also in safely recovering Sebastian Rios, locating Ms. Uyar’s remains and bringing them both home to their family,” Daniel said. “And we hope that this can bring some small measure of comfort to all those grieving Yasemin.”
Convictions of crimes of this nature can be punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty in a court of law.