MONTEREY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The body of a missing New Jersey woman, abducted with her son, was discovered in Putnam County this weekend.
The boy’s father is now behind bars after the search lead them to Bethel Inn & Suites in the small town of Monterey where Samantha Flansburg works.
“He just seemed normal. And for it to be just a small town like this, and how friendly it is, for him to just stop by and do this it’s horrifying. It’s absolutely horrifying,” she says.
Flansburg recalls the moment when local, state, and federal authorities swarmed the area late Saturday evening. “[They] just surrounded the place. It was intense. It was terrifying.”
The target? 27-year-old Tyler Rios who officials say kidnapped 24-year-old Yasmine Uyar and their 2-year-old son Sebastian. Uyar’s mother, Karen Uyar, explains the two knew each other from high school.
“They’ve had a tumultuous relationship for quite a while. She had a restraining order against him, and she was actually in the process of moving,” she says. So, when Uyar didn’t show for work and Sebastian didn’t go to daycare, the family called the police.
A simple welfare check of Uyar’s Rahway New Jersey home quickly escalated to an Amber Alert and nationwide manhunt which started Friday. By Saturday night, Rios’ vehicle was spotted in the parking lot of Bethel Inn & Suites. While authorities haven’t confirmed what lead them to the hotel, Flansburg has her theory.
“He was using cash up until he got here because cash is not allowed. So he had to physically activate his card. So when he used it, not long after is when they got the card,” Flansburg says.
Police made contact with Rios and tried to convince him to give himself up, he wouldn’t. So, they forcefully entered his room and arrested him.
“They actually had to get the battering ram and bam it in because he refused to come out of the room,” says Flansburg.
2-year-old Sebastian was found unharmed inside.
Rios lead Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputies and the FBI to a wooded area off Highway 70, inside Monterey city limits, where they discovered Uyar’s body. It’s still a mystery as to why Rios chose this quaint town.
“He has a lot of family in Georgia,” says Karen Uyar. Maybe just passing through the family suspects. Either way, Rios’ short stay will linger for a long time in the minds of those there that night.
“It’s a loss. It’s a beautiful woman. She had her young child who I’m sure she loved more than anything. And, it’s just awful. It’s awful to know they lost someone so special to them, especially now that they have to be with the boy and have to explain that to him later on,” Flansburg says, “I hope in the future everything gets easier for them.”
Sebastian is now back with his family.
Rios is currently being held in the Putnam County Jail on a felony fugitive charge. More charges are expected from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey, which could include murder and kidnapping.