Person of interest in New Jersey woman's disappearance dead of apparent suicide

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Friday, November 22, 2019
Person of interest in New Jersey woman's disappearance dead of apparent suicide
Anthony Johnson reports on the death of the person of interest in the missing NJ woman investigation.

FREEHOLD, New Jersey (WABC) -- The boyfriend of a missing woman from New Jersey who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance was found dead of an apparent suicide in his home Friday morning.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office confirms that John Ozbilgen's body was found in his house on Kings Mountain Road in Freehold.

The medical examiner determined the cause and manner of death to be suicide by hanging.

"They found him in the house this morning and immediately notified authorities that he was dead," said Ozbilgen's attorney, who met with his client Thursday night. "It was clear to me last night that he, without question, maintained his innocence."

Ozbilgen, 29, was the on-again, off-again boyfriend of 25-year-old Stephanie Parze, who was last seen on October 30 during a night out with her family.

During the course of the investigation, police say child pornography was found on Ozbilgen's phone, leading to his arrest.

He was held for 11 days before a judge released him Tuesday, granting bail while pointing out Ozbilgen was not yet charged in connection with Parze's disappearance.

"Obviously John was a young man, the oldest son, and he's gone," Ozbilgen's parents' attorney said. "That's a lot for them to deal with."

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."

Parze's father, Ed Parze, organized search parties this week as the family continues to search for answers, and for their daughter.


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