The Highland Park man accused of kidnapping his 2-year-old son in Rahway on Friday and killing the boy’s mother has previously been accused of strangling his romantic partner.
But like many cases of domestic violence in New Jersey, the strangulation charge was dismissed as part of a plea deal that prevented the suspect from being jailed – even though research has shown the survivors strangulation are more likely to become homicide victims later.
Now, a family mourns the loss of Yasemin Uyar, 24, whose body was found on Saturday night in a wooded area off Interstate 40 in Tennessee.
Charges against Tyler Rios
Authorities plan to charge Tyler Rios, 27, of Highland Park, with killing Uyar. He is being held in Tennessee, where authorities found him on Saturday with his son, who did not appear to have been physically injured.
The little boy was the subject of a widespread Amber alert on Friday after he and his mother went missing. Police first found the boy and father together hundreds of miles away in Monterey, Tennessee, but not in Uyar.
So far, Rios faces first-degree kidnapping charges in Union County. Homicide charges are pending and prosecutors expect to announce when he will first appear before a judge in Elizabeth.
Tyler Rios criminal record
Rios has appeared before judges several times over the past two years.
During the 2020 pandemic, Rios spent several months in prisons in two counties. But the judges never sent him to jail, always releasing him on probation terms.
Court records obtained by New Jersey 101.5 show a history of domestic violence, including a 2018 charge of attempting to strangle a victim.
It is not known how many women Rios has been charged with abuse, as court records protect the privacy of victims. But Uyar’s mother in 2019 wrote on Facebook that Rios had once choked his daughter until she passed out. She also said that Rios in 2019 locked Uyar and their son in a bathroom in Arizona and threatened to hit her. The mother said Rios broke Uyar’s phones, but not before she was able to text her family to call 911 on her behalf.
In April, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Colleen Flynn sentenced Rios to three years probation after pleading guilty to third degree aggravated assault on a victim of domestic violence.
The 2018 strangulation charge, for which a grand jury delivered an indictment, was dismissed as part of the plea deal with prosecutors, court records show.
Court records also show he spent 88 days in the county jail in the case. But Rios was behind bars again in October, this time in Union County.
After spending more than 70 days in jail, Superior Court Judge Joseph Donohue in December sentenced Rios to one year of probation for violating a domestic violence restraining order.
The judge also:
- I ordered Rios to take a drug test
- Ordered him to take an anger management course
- He forbade her to buy or own a firearm.
- And ordered him not to have contact with the victim
In 2019, Rios was arrested in Arizona on charges of assault and unlawful imprisonment, according to files shared online by Uyar’s mother, who at the time wrote frankly on Facebook about his fear that Rios had killed his daughter during the stalemate situation.
“I call 911 and give the address and explain DV’s long history. I hang up and wait. I pray,” wrote Karen Uyar just years before her daughter was found dead in another state.
“Several calls later from Officer Hunting, she said words that tore my soul apart and made me believe my worst fears [may] come. “The apartment is silent, we see him walking around from time to time. Quiet. The apartment is silent. Our only thought is … He killed them. “
New Jersey Domestic Violence Strangulation Case
Almost half of all cases of domestic violence in New Jersey get kicked out. One reason is that victims are often terrified of cooperating or unwilling to file a complaint against someone who is part of their family.
However, victim advocates also say Municipal Court judges, who often hear many domestic violence cases first, are ill-prepared to deal with such complex issues.
State lawmakers, meanwhile, have attempted to change the state’s bail reform law to make non-fatal strangulation one of the charges that would allow judges to keep suspects locked up. before their trial.
“Strangulation is a unique type of violence,” Senator Linda Greenstein, D-Middlesex, sponsor of the bill said last year. “Even if it does not result in death, statistics show that it is very likely that it will result in death next time. And there is always a next time.
The bill remains in committee after being reintroduced in the last legislative session.
According to the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, someone accused of choking a partner is seven times more likely to kill someone later. And in 43% of domestic violence homicides, the victim had been a strangulation survivor a year earlier.
Helping Victims of Domestic Violence in New Jersey
Law enforcement is well aware of the increased risk faced by victims of strangulation.
In 2019, the Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office launched a program to alert first responders to this red flag and train them on how to deal with victims.
A victim advocacy group in that county said it received nearly a dozen calls per month involving some level of attempted strangulation or suffocation.
“What they are learning across the country is that strangulation or suffocation is the last step a person typically takes before a murder takes place, before a homicide takes place, we really want to shed some light on that, ”said Chris Gramiccioni, Monmouth County District Attorney. said New Jersey 101.5 at the time.
In 2019, victim attorney Nicole Morella told New Jersey 101.5 that strangling survivors often suffer even more abuse afterwards.
“They are so afraid of this person killing them that they may be reluctant to report it and they may be reluctant to seek the services to get out of the relationship because they believe in the threat that they are going to be killed,” says -she at the time.
Who was Yasemin Uyar?
Relatives began to suspect that something was wrong on Friday when little Sebastian failed to show up to daycare and his mother failed to show up for her shifts.
Police went to Uyar’s home in Rahway on Friday to check if the family was okay, but found no one there.
On Saturday evening, the family learned the terrible news of Uyar’s death.
Her mother urged people on social media to remember her daughter as more than a ‘righteous [domestic violence] victim.”
“She was a daughter, sister, mother, aunt and cousin,” Karen Uyar wrote on Facebook. “His life will be celebrated as his greatest gift to this world, Sebastian will always need ALL of our love and support.”
Sergio Bichao is the digital editor of New Jersey 101.5. Send them topical advice: Call 609-775-9793 or email [email protected]
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