Person of interest in New Jersey woman's disappearance gets bail in child porn case

FREEHOLD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A person of interest in the case of a missing New Jersey woman who was arrested on child pornography charges was released on bail Tuesday.

John Ozbilgen, 29, who dated 25-year-old Stephanie Parze, is charged with third-degree possession of child pornography.

He was arrested at his Freehold Township home.

Ozbilgen was brought into court Tuesday in green prison clothes and listened as the Monmouth County prosecutors laid out their reasons why Judge Paul Escandon should keep him behind bars while he awaits trial. Prosecutor said 10 images of babies and young girls showed those children being abused and tortured by adult men, and that those images were discovered on the unemployed stockbroker's phone by detectives investigating Parze's disappearance.

"We further learned that there was a pending domestic violence case from September 23, 2019, involving Ms. Parze, in which the defendant was alleged to have struck Stephanie Parze in the head and threatened her before she took off running down the street," Assistant Prosecutor Caitlyn Sidley said. "Detectives learned that this defendant was texting and Facebook messaging Stephanie Parze the night before her disappearance."

The case is such that bail is generally granted, and as Ozbilgen is not facing charges in connection to Parze's disappearance, the judge said he would only consider the current circumstances.

Related: Search underway on Staten Island in connection to disappearance of Stephanie Parze

Ozbilgen's attorney said his client doesn't know how the pornography ended up on his phone.

"He's been held 11 days in jail on this child pornography charge," attorney Robert Honecker said. "You don't have to be under a rock to know that he's a person of interest in the disappearance of this young woman. But he hasn't been charged with anything related to that."

Parze, of Freehold, was last seen around 10 p.m. October 30 after she spent a night out with family to see a psychic in New Brunswick.

Her father, Ed Parze, said family, friends, and first responders will continue to search for her, including an organized effort scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

"We don't know," he said. "That's the thing. The unknown is what's driving us out of our minds. So we're going to try to just check off the boxes as best we can."

Ozbilgen will stay with his parents, and he is barred from using the internet.

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