The ex-boyfriend of a missing New Jersey nanny sent her a slew of furious text messages the night before she vanished, a prosecutor said this week.
During a hearing Tuesday for a child pornography charge against John Ozbilgen, 29, prosecutors said he had marks on his neck and was responsible for sending Stephanie Parze vicious messages before she went missing. Parze, 25, vanished from her home in Freehold Township, New Jersey on Oct. 30.
Ozbilgen, also of Freehold Township, has since been labeled a person of interest in her disappearance and a park in Staten Island, not far from where Ozbilgen used to live, has been searched multiple times. After a search warrant was executed on his phone, investigators allegedly found multiple images of child porn, including graphic images of toddlers, according to the Asbury Park Press. Ozbilgen’s lawyer Robert Honecker Jr. claimed in court Tuesday that the images weren’t on his client’s phone intentionally.
Before being released from jail Tuesday after being held for 11 days on the child porn accusations, Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley told the court that Ozbilgen was a danger to society, citing angry texts he allegedly sent Parze the night she vanished.
“Detectives learned that this defendant was texting and Facebook messaging Parze the night before her disappearance," Sidley said, according to NJ.com. "Those messages spanned just over nine minutes long. There were 10 unanswered messages, concluding with calling Stephanie Parze ‘a f------ c---’ and telling her that she ‘always has to make their relationship suck.’”
She added that while Ozbilgen was being questioned as a person of interest in Parze’s disappearance, investigators noticed marks around his neck, according to the Asbury Park Press.
While Parze and Ozbilgen reportedly only dated for a few months, it was a rocky few months. Anonymous police sources told NBC New York that Parze called police twice on Ozbilgen to report alleged abuse. The first 911 call came in June, when Parze accused Ozbilgen of grabbing her by her face and pulling her hair, an allegation which was later dismissed, according to those sources.
Then, in September, five weeks before vanishing, Parze filed a simple assault domestic violence complaint against Ozbilgen, according to the Asbury Park Press. In that case, she called 911 again to claim that Ozbilgen backhanded her in the head and hit her hand, according to NBC New York. In both incidents, the alleged violence came after Parze tried to end the relationship; police said that Parze feared being attacked in the future.
Sidley said in court Tuesday that Ozbilgen has actually been accused of domestic violence by three different victims in the last year.
Honecker said his client was fired from his job as a stockbroker at Staten Island-based Woodstock Financial Group the day after Parze vanished but that he was actively seeking other work. Parze was just starting a new job as a nanny when she vanished. She never showed up for work as scheduled on Halloween.
Parze vanished the day before Halloween shortly after seeing a psychic show with family members. She had promised to either call or text her parents when she returned home but they never received any message from her, local outlet WABC reports. Her phone was later found inside her home and her car was in her driveway.
Ozbilgen’s attorney acknowledges his client is a person of interest in Parze’s disappearance but would not comment on whether or not he was worried about his former girlfriend. Her Facebook page, which previously indicated she was in a relationship with Ozbilgen, listed her as single at the time of her disappearance. Honecker also would not say if his client would participate in any of the searches for Parze. Her father has organized a search for this week, NJ.com reports.
Parze stands at 4'11'' and has brown hair and brown eyes. She weighs about 115 pounds. She was last seen wearing jeans, a burgundy V-neck shirt and burgundy sweater.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Det. Shawn Murphy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032, or Det. Daniel Valentine of the Freehold Township Police at 732-462-7908.
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