NJ state police seek more witnesses after woman held hostage, suspect charged

New Jersey State Police are asking for the public’s help as they continue their investigation into a man accused of holding a woman hostage for nearly a year.

James Parrillo Jr., 57, was arrested on Feb. 7 in Burlington County, New Jersey after the woman he allegedly kidnapped escaped from the residence they shared and managed to flee to a gas station.

The woman reportedly told police she first met Parrillo, whom she knew by the name Brett Parker, at a gas station in New Mexico in February 2022 and agreed to give him a ride to Arizona, prosecutors said.

She reportedly said she was in a voluntary relationship with the man for about a month when he allegedly physically assaulted her while they were in California, “at which point she felt unable to leave the relationship,” the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Parrillo allegedly took the woman’s phone and debit cards and “isolated her from her family,” the attorney general’s office said.

The two arrived in New Jersey sometime in December and were staying in a rented room in Bass River for about two weeks when she managed to escape following an argument with Parrillo, during which he allegedly beat and choked her.

The woman bolted out the door to the gas station and reportedly told the gas station attendant she had been kidnapped for approximately a year.

“Footage from the station’s security camera shows Parrillo following the woman to the gas station and attempting to open the door, then leaving when he found it locked,” the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said.

The gas station attendant called state police, who apprehended Parrillo a short time later as he walked down a nearby road, authorities said.

Parrillo has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault and third-degree criminal restraint, authorities said. He also faces charges of third-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree obstruction and refusing to provide a DNA sample.

He was ordered detained at the Burlington County Jail while awaiting trial during a hearing on Wednesday.

NJ State Police are asking anyone who may have had contact with Parillo, who is known to go by different names, to contact them.

Anyone with information is asked to call 855-363-6548.

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