On Sunday January 26, 2020, two teenagers stumbled across human remains in Old Bridge, NJ. An autopsy conducted on the remains by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday confirmed the identity of the body and that it belonged to Stephanie, but the medical examiner has yet to release a cause of death.
Police have revealed that Stephanie’s on-again, off-again boyfriend John Ozbilgen left a suicide note where he confessed to her murder. He did not reveal where her remains were.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Stephanie’s father, Edward, broke down in tears.”It goes without saying that our family is devastated, our friends, our community,” Parze said. “And our lives are never going to be the same. However, Stephanie is home, she’s coming home, at last.”He said he’s indebted to the “devoted” community of people who prioritized finding his daughter. Parze also said he and his wife, Sharlene, will eventually start a Stephanie Parze foundation to “bring awareness to battered women and missing people.”
Stephanie Parze (25) went to see a psychic medium with some of her family on the night of October 30, 2019. After the event finished, she dropped her family members off at their home and proceeded to make her way back to her own place. She posted to Snapchat while she was driving.
“She gave me three kisses goodbye and I just told her to call me or text me when she gets home and I never heard from her,” her mother Sharlene Parze said.
Her family began to worry on October 31, when they hadn’t heard from Stephanie. They found out that she didn’t show up to work, and they went to her house to check on her. They saw her car in the driveway and found her cell phone in the house.
Law enforcement were called and the search for Stephanie began.
Police started to look into those closest to Stephanie. They asked to search the phones and computers of her boyfriend, John Ozbilgen. John’s phone GPS was traced to the woods around the Staten Island Long Pond Park for about six hours beginning at 3 a.m. one morning after Stephanie disappeared. Police have searched that area multiple times and have not revealed if anything was found.
After police searched John’s devices, they found something unexpected. John had ten child pornography images on his phone. Images were found of children as young as 3-years-old being sexually abused. John has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography, a quantity of files under 1,000. If convicted for his crime, he could face up to five years in prison.
John and Stephanie’s relationship was a volatile one. They had broken up many times and she had sent texts to friends, outlining abuse that she endured.
Many vulgar texts from John have also surfaced online
Stephanie had accused John of assaulting her in September 2019 and he was charged with simple assault. The court date for that charge was set for December 2019. Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley noted additional domestic violence allegations against John from two other victims this year. She said he has an active restraining order against him from a previous “dating relationship” in New York City.
“(Ozbilgen’s) violence against women is borne out in his history as well as pornography he seeks out of very young children. There are no conditions that can keep this community safe,” Sidley said.
Police also discovered that John had sent angry texts to Stephanie on the night she disappeared, and that they went unanswered.
“Detectives learned that this defendant was texting and Facebook messaging Parze the night before her disappearance,” Sidley said. “Those messages spanned just over nine minutes long. There were 10 unanswered messages, concluding with calling Stephanie Parze (an expletive) and telling her that she ‘always has to make their relationship suck.’”
Detectives also noted marks around Ozbilgen’s neck while they were investigating Parze’s disappearance, Sidley said.
John was fired from his job as a stockbroker on October 31, 2019.
Judge Escandon has placed John on monitored release, barring him from using the Internet and using drugs. He must also maintain or seek employment.
No trace of Stephanie has been found.
The Office of the Monmouth County Prosecutor said in a statement that Parze’s case is active and ongoing.
“Our investigation to this point has not given us any reason to believe that there is any danger to the general public. This matter remains a high priority as investigators are determined to locate Ms. Parze. We are following up on every lead and the investigation has taken our team into Staten Island,” it added.
Parze is described as petite in size, standing 4 feet 11 inches and weighing 115 pounds.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Stephanie Parze, please contact the Freehold Township Police at (732) 462-7908.”