TENNESSEE (WPIX) – A New Jersey woman was found dead in Tennessee Saturday night after she and her 2-year-old son were abducted by the child’s father earlier in the week, officials said Sunday.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert on Friday after it appeared Tyler Rios, 27, had kidnapped 24-year-old Yasmine Uyar and their baby boy.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office located the 2018 Ford Fiesta Rios was believed to be in outside of the Bethel Inn Hotel located near I-40 in Monterey, Tennessee. The sheriff’s office said after a forced entry, Rios led authorities to the remains of Uyar located in a wooded area along Highway 70.
Uyar’s mother, Karen Uyar, also confirmed her daughter’s body had been found. She said on Saturday she would travel to Tennessee to reunite with her grandson.
“My family would like to share that at 8:15 last night we were notified that Yasemin’s remains had been located in TN. While my family grieves the loss of Yasemin please remember she wasn’t just a [domestic violence] victim. She was a daughter, sister, mother, aunt and cousin. Her life will be celebrated as her greatest gift to this world, Sebastian will still need ALL of our love and support. While I’m sure you are all needing details (as are we) I’m asking to please give us this day to grieve privately as a family. We will continue to share information, including funeral arrangements as we confirm them,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
Police arrested Rios and preliminarily charged him with first-degree kidnapping, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. He was expected to be extradited to New Jersey to face additional criminal charges in Union County Superior Court.
“I am very pleased with the professionalism of Putnam Sheriff Deputies, Monterey
Police Officers and the cooperation with other agencies involved. I am thankful for the wellbeing and
unharmed two-year-old. I would also like to express my sadness regarding the death of Yasemin Uyar and
condolences to her family and friends,” Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris said in a statement.
In Highland Park, New Jersey, where Karen Uyar lives, a vigil was held for her daughter on Saturday night. Friends and family gathered at the reformed Church of Highland Park to pray for her.
“We were extremely relieved to know Sebastian was safe and we were relieved that Tyler was in custody but our focus, besides getting Sebastian back from Tennessee, is to find Yasmin,” Karen Uyar had said.
The family’s terrifying and heart-wrenching ordeal began on Friday, when the 24-year-old mother did not show up for work and the boy was not dropped off at day care, according to officials.
Police checked on the family at their New Jersey home, but no one was there.
An Amber Alert was issued and police from multiple local, state and federal agencies began a frantic search for the pair, believing Rios may have abducted them.
Karen Uyar told PIX11 News on Friday that Rios and her daughter had known each other since high school, but they hadn’t been a couple since shortly after their son was born. She said her daughter was assaulted multiple times by Rios and had a restraining order against him.
“We tried really hard to get Yasmin to leave him but she was trying to co-parent with him and he often thought they were getting back together,” Karen Uyar said.
Uyar was planning to move out of her apartment this weekend to a place where Rios couldn’t find her or their son, according to Karen Uyar, who believes that may have been what triggered the abduction.
“She was actually in the process of moving,” Karen Uyar said on Friday. “We normally speak every day but I didn’t speak with her yesterday because she was busy packing and I didn’t want to bother.”
Anyone with information about the case was urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Lt. Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271 or Detective Richard Acosta at 908-347-0404.
This story comprises reporting from PIX11’s Kristine Garcia and Jay Dow.