PHOENIX - More than 30 years after a 19-year-old girl disappeared during a wedding party, a man has been sentenced for her murder.
Patrick C. Ryon, 53, was sentenced Friday to a term of 18 years in prison after he pleaded guilty last October to second-degree murder in the case.
According to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Alison Mims was 19 years old when she went missing on the day of her mother's wedding in Glendale.
Her remains were discovered in a remote desert area in 1987 and identified in 2010.
According to the Attorney General's Office, Ryon was a guest at the wedding on December 23, 1980.
Ryon became very intoxicated and his fiancée left without him. He then reportedly asked Mims to drive him home and she told her mother she was scared because he was drunk.
She initially refused his request, but then told her mother she would give Ryon a ride home and would be right back. She was never seen alive again.
The car Mims was driving showed up at a Valley hospital and was towed away after it had been in the parking lot for three months.
In 1981 the car was sold to a woman who found two purses with no identifying information in them. She also found a woman's watch which Mims' family identified as belonging to Alison. Also found was a receipt for a 1979 tire purchase signed by the victim.
In the meantime, Ryon had left unexpectedly for New Mexico right after the wedding.
Ryon was eventually interviewed by detectives in 1982 where he told them that Mims had driven him home from a party and that she asked him to go to another party but he declined.
According to the news release, Ryon confessed to a friend in 1986 and later to a pastor that he had killed a woman in Phoenix several years earlier. When contacted by police again, he denied making those statements.
A horseback rider discovered some remains in the desert near Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway in May 1987. At the time investigators were unable to identify the remains or the cause of death.
In 2010, with improved DNA forensic analysis, investigators identified the bone fragment as belonging to Mims.
Ryon was arrested in New Mexico and indicted in October 2010 for first-degree murder and attempted sexual assault.