PHOENIX -- A 53-year-old man has been sentenced for strangling a young woman and leaving her body in a remote desert area more than 30 years ago.
On Friday, a judge sentenced Patrick Ryon to 18 years in prison. The sentence comes after Ryon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October.
"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."
Prosecutors said Alison Mims, 19, disappeared Dec. 23, 1980, after giving Ryon a ride home from her mother's wedding reception in Glendale.
The vehicle Mims was driving was found nearly four months later.
In 1986, Ryon confessed to a friend and later to a pastor that he killed a woman in Phoenix several years earlier but later recanted, according to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
A horseback rider discovered a partial skull near Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway in May 1987. The remains were identified as belonging to Mims in 2010.
Ryon was apprehended in New Mexico and indicted for first-degree murder and attempted sexual assault.