Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Click here to
sign up for our newsletter!

The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 27, 2020

Update: Body Found Identified as Stephanie Parze, Ozbilgen Made Suspect Early On

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that Stephanie Parze, the Freehold woman missing since Oct. 30, has been identified as the body found in Old Bridge yesterday. The Middlesex Examiner’s Office performed the autopsy this morning confirming positive identification.

Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office announced yesterday that at approximately 2:45 pm Sunday, local police responded to the wooded area near the Grand Marquis Catering Hall on Route 9 to investigate a report of an unidentified, partially decomposed human body. Witnesses observed an abundance of police cars, detectives in the area of Route 9 and Schulmeister Road hours later into the night and remained on scene Monday morning. Early reports speculated that the body could in fact be Parze due to initial evidence.

Update: Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni and the Monmouth County’s Prosecutor’s Office’s announced during a press conference this morning that John Ozbilgen, former boyfriend of Stephanie Parze, was made a suspect in the homicide of Parze early on in the investigation. Evidence collected in the initial stages of the disappearance concluded and confirmed he was responsible for her killing, and that the authorities were dealing with a homicide that was not made public until now.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Edward Parze

The office obtained more than 50 search warrants and conducted five searches of Ozbilgen’s home early on based on this evidence. After the self-inflicted death of Ozbilgen, another piece of evidence in particular reaffirming Ozbilgen’s responsibility in Parze’s death was found. A note recovered in his Freehold home written to his parents stating he had “had enough, and could not do life in prison.” He also stated he “had dug himself a big hole” and this was his “only way out.”

Ozbilgen also mentioned that everything his parents would hear in the news was true, except for the child pornography charge. The prosecutor has affirmed that John Ozbilgen is the sole guilty person behind the murder. The investigation continues with determining the cause and manner of death, which was not disclosed as of yet.

Edward Parze, father of Stephanie, also spoke briefly at the press conference, stating, “Stephanie is home, coming home at last right where she belongs, and we have God to thank for that.”

He further thanked the community for the help and donations received since his daughter’s disappearance. Through agony and tears, he also thanked the authorities and the two teenage boys walking along the wooded area, southbound on Route 9, for finding Stephanie’s remains. Mr. Parze stated a domestic violence and battered women foundation is planned to be set up in Stephanie’s name.

Stephanie Parze went missing on Oct. 30, 2019 after returning home to her grandmother’s house from an evening out with her family. Her belongings and car were found at the home the next morning, with no sign of Parze or evidence forced entry. Parze’s boyfriend at the time, John Ozbilgen, quickly became a person of interest, before committing suicide at his Freehold home in mid-November.

The Parze family and surrounding communities have been relentless in their search for Stephanie, conducting multi-area wide searches and fundraising to aid in helping to bring Stephanie home since her disappearance.

Prosecutor Gramiccioni and the MCPO thanked Freehold Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, New York Police Department, Monmouth County Rapid Deployment Force, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Jackson Police Department, the FBI, Old Bridge Police Department and the Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office in the collaborative effort in working to close this case.