The discovery of the body in a wooded area of New Jersey was confirmed to be that of a missing woman Stephanie Parze. She had been missing since October 2019. Her body was discovered in Old Bridge on Sunday by two teenage boys walking along Route 9, near where searchers had been looking since she disappeared.
Her ex-boyfriend John Ozbilgen confessed to killing her in his suicide note.
The discovery of her body ended an 87-day search for the beloved babysitter. Her identity was confirmed during an autopsy by the Middlesex County medical examiner Monday morning. Gramiccioni said the cause and manner of death were still pending. Parze’s body was handed over to the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office, which will determine the manner and cause of death.
Two teens, ages 17 and 18, happened upon Parze’s body Sunday afternoon in a wooded area off U.S. Route 9 just south of Old Mill Road, officials said. Search parties previously combed the area for any signs of the missing woman — part of a months-long effort that spanned hundreds of acres, and required 50 search warrants in 10 locations.
Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Ozbilgen, 29, was the sole person responsible for the death of the 25-year-old Freehold Township woman, who disappeared Oct. 30, during a news conference Monday morning where authorities provided more details of the case.
Parze, 25, disappeared Oct. 30 from her Freehold, N.J., home. Authorities quickly zeroed in on her boyfriend, John Ozbilgen — who was the last person to see Parze alive and who committed suicide three weeks after she disappeared — as the primary suspect.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni revealed on Monday that Ozbilgen left a note at his parent’s house before he hanged himself in his home Nov. 22, a few days after his arrest on child pornography charges unrelated to Parze. Evidence found during searches of Ozbilgen’s Freehold Township home had pointed in that direction early on. In the note, “he said he had had enough and could not do life in prison,” Gramiccioni said. Ozbilgen said he had “dug himself a deep hole and this was the only choice.”
Prosecutors 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 looking into 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.”
Edward Parze, Stephane Parze’s Father, informed that he and his wife plan to start the Stephanie Parze Foundation to draw attention to abused women and missing persons cases.