Body found of missing NJ woman

An autopsy Monday confirmed that a body found in Old Bridge near the area where authorities had been searching for a missing woman is that of Stephanie Parze.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor made the announcement Monday.

"It is with great sadness we announce that Stephanie Parze’s remains were recovered yesterday in Old Bridge. The ME confirmed her identity this morning. MCPO will hold a brief press conference later today. Thanks to@MCProsecutor  and @oldbridgepd  for great teamwork on this matter."

On Sunday, police said they recovered a body from a wooded area off Route 9 and just south of Old Mill Road at about 2:46 p.m.

Parze, 25, disappeared on Oct. 30, 2019 after a night out with family at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick. Her family told investigators they had said goodbye to her as she headed to her home. She was never seen alive again.

Her ex-boyfriend John Ozbilgen, 29, of Freehold, had been identified as a person of interest in Parze’s disappearance. Ozbilgen was arrested on a child pornography charge after images were found on his phone as authorities investigated Parze’s disappearance.

Ozbilgen was found dead in his home a few days later, and his death was ruled a suicide. He was never charged in connection with Parze's disappearance, but Gramiccioni said Monday that a note confirmed the findings of investigators who had “accumulated a great deal of evidence that indicated he was responsible for her killing” and were working toward charging him.

“His suicide obviously cut that short,” Gramiccioni said.

In the note to his parents, Ozbilgen “said he had enough and that he could not do life in prison" and that what his parents would hear in the news “was true except for the charges of child pornography,” Gramiccioni said. Ozbilgen also wrote that he had “dug himself a deep hole” and that “this was the only choice," the prosecutor added.

Ozbilgen had fired off 10 angry, unanswered messages to Parze the night before she disappeared, according to prosecutors. 

Stephanie Parze's father,  Ed Parze, thanked investigators for going “way beyond the call of duty” and said the family planned to start a foundation to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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