Man pleads guilty in disappearance and death of his child’s mother

Tyler Rios

UNION COUNTY, NJ — On April 4, an East Orange man, charged with the death of his estranged girlfriend and the kidnapping of their son in an incident that resulted in a widely broadcast Amber Alert last July, pleaded guilty and is facing a 30-year prison sentence, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced April 5.

Tyler Rios, 27, pleaded guilty before Union County Superior Court Judge John Deitch to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and one count of second-degree desecrating of human remains in the death of 24-year-old Yasemin Uyar, of Rahway. Rios’ actions in July 2021 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 the suspect in the case after his and Uyar’s son 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 agencies — with assistance from Tennessee’s Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s Memphis field office and satellite offices — the child 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 Interstate 40.

An autopsy performed on Uyar revealed that her death resulted from strangulation and blunt force trauma. The investigation subsequently revealed that, on July 8, Rios killed Uyar in her Rahway home before placing her in the trunk of his car, then taking their son and fleeing to Tennessee.

Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 10, at which time the state will request on the aggravated manslaughter charge a term of 25 years in state prison pursuant to the No Early Release Act, which requires persons convicted of certain violent crimes to serve 85 percent of their sentence before being eligible for parole. The state will also be seeking a five-year term on the desecration count to run consecutive to the manslaughter charge.