NJ restraining orders are useless when this boy’s mom dies (Opinion)
Anyone who has ever been through domestic violence knows one thing. You’re never completely relaxed again. There’s constant tension inside. Whether you’re trying to hope it stops or biding your time with a best strategy to leave or already have left. It’s all the same. You never feel like your life is your own anymore. And you know it’s never really going to be over.
It’s over for Yasemin Uyar.
An Amber Alert went to most of our phones Friday afternoon. A 2-year-old boy was believed abducted by his father. In the end, what we learned this weekend from police statements and published reports is that the man, Tyler Rios, was found in Tennessee with the boy who was safe.
The toddler’s mother, Yasemin Uyar, was still missing. Police say he abducted them both in New Jersey.
Next we learned her dead body was found in Tennessee woods. Her mother claims she had information that Rios told police he had put it there. Charges are expected.
She was only 24 and he is 27. But this on-again off-again relationship, a reportedly abusive one, went on for years, starting in high school.
Only those closest to her will ever know the full details of the abusive roller coaster she endured; how it started, how she was manipulated, her reasons for hoping it would change at first. Kids often have everything to do with it. For those who balk at that notion ask yourselves isn’t it true you say you would do anything for your child, even die for your child? We often want the best for our children, we accept better for them, then good enough for them, until we realize we’ve cornered ourselves.
The abuse was bad enough that there were charges and court involvement. By 2018 there was a strangulation charge. A jury indicted him for attempted strangulation and sadly he was given a plea deal and only did 88 days in county.
By 2019 in Arizona there was a standoff with police after Rio, according to authorities, locked the baby and Yasmine in a bathroom. He was charged in 2019 with assault and unlawful imprisonment.
In 2020, Rios reportedly spent several months in two different NJ county jails only to be released by a judge with conditions of probation and never sent to prison.
Here’s the even crazier part. The victim’s mother said Yasemin had broken away from him for more than a year and had a restraining order against him which she notes he continually violated. She says Yasemin moved six different times trying to get away from him but apparently he would always find her.
She was in the process of moving again Friday when Rios found her and, according to police, abducted her and their son. I would posit that the lenient court system and the flaws of restraining orders are complicit in her death.
How can someone who had been believed to attempt to strangle this woman to death not have been locked up in prison for years once he violates a subsequent restraining order?
There are two types of those in New Jersey. A TRO and an FRO. A TRO is a temporary restraining order. An FRO is a final restraining order that cost people custody, haunt them with a record, etc.. But it’s already illegal to harass someone and beat someone. If the system has only slapped you meekly on the wrist for such things, are you truly that concerned about violating a restraining order? Usually violating one is a contempt charge and only 4th degree with fines and no guarantee of jail time.
It’s a joke.
No wonder abuse victims don’t press charges half the time. The courts don’t take them seriously enough even when they do. And when your abuser spends only a few weeks in county and comes back out all you’ve accomplished is making them more hostile the next time they find you.
The system needs to be better.
The story of Yasemin Uyar is just one of thousands. In New Jersey 26.2% of women and 29.3% of men experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Her story will sadly be forgotten. Her mom will eventually pass on with a broken heart, no longer able to tell her story. Rios will likely be forgotten in prison.
Sebastian Rios will never forget as he grows up without the doting mother who loved him. What will this do to him psychologically? Let us all pray he doesn’t find himself part of another forgotten story 25 years from now.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.