PHOENIX, AZ (January 17, 2014) – More than three decades after the murder of 19-year-old Alison Mims, her killer has been brought to justice. Patrick C. Ryon (D.O.B. 2/20/1960) was sentenced today to a term of 18 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Ryon pled guilty to Second Degree Murder last October and acknowledged that he strangled Alison to death in December 1980 and left her body in a remote desert area. Her remains were discovered in 1987 and identified in 2010.
“Today’s sentence closes a chapter in a family’s long quest for justice and puts an end to the efforts by this defendant to escape the consequences for his actions,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This successful prosecution also underscores the firm commitment of my office and our law enforcement partners to hold offenders accountable no matter how long it takes,” he added.
The events that led to the murder of Alison Mims began with a wedding. On December 23, 1980, Alison’s mother, Marilyn, married Ken Texel at a ceremony in Glendale, Arizona. Among the guests was Patrick Ryon, the fiancé of Ken’s daughter. Ryon became very intoxicated at the wedding and his fiancée left without him. Alison told her mother that Ryon asked her to drive him home and that she was scared because he was drunk. After initially refusing Ryon’s request, Alison told her mother she would give Ryon a ride home and would be right back. She left the wedding and was never seen alive again.
At the time she disappeared, Alison was driving a 1974 Oldsmobile which had belonged to her grandmother and was still registered in her grandmother’s name. On April 10, 1981, a security officer at Phoenix Baptist Hospital called a tow truck to remove a car that was left in the hospital parking lot for more than three months. The vehicle’s registration was traced to Alison’s grandmother, who had passed away at the hospital prior to Alison’s disappearance. This led the security officer to believe the vehicle had been sitting in the parking lot since the time of Alison’s grandmother’s death. The officer noticed a pair of boots on the rear floorboard, which he believed to be brown. Alison was wearing the same type of boots in gray the last time she was seen.
In June, 1981, the car was sold to a woman who discarded the boots and found two purses in the car with no identifying information in them. She also found a woman’s watch on the front floorboard which was later identified by Alison’s family as belonging to her. The car contained a receipt for a 1979 tire purchase by Alison.
Immediately after the wedding, Patrick Ryon left unexpectedly for New Mexico. Both his fiancée and Marilyn Texel tried unsuccessfully to locate and contact him. Returning ten days later, Ryon was eventually interviewed by detectives on June 26, 1982. He told them that Alison had driven him home from a party and that she asked him to go to another party but he declined because he was tired. Detectives were unable to develop evidence linking Ryon to Alison’s disappearance. In July of 1986, Ryon confessed to a friend and later to a pastor that he had killed a woman in Phoenix several years earlier. When contacted again by police he denied making those statements.
In May, 1987, a horseback rider discovered a partial skull in the desert near I-17 and Carefree Highway. Investigators were unable to identify the remains or the cause of death. In 2010, after the development of improved DNA forensic analysis, investigators identified the bone fragment as belonging to a child of Alison’s parents. Patrick Ryon was apprehended in New Mexico and indicted on October 27, 2010 for First Degree Murder and Attempted Sexual Assault.