It’s official: Freehold Twp. woman Stephanie Parze’s body found in Old Bridge
OLD BRIDGE — A medical examiner has determined a body discovered Sunday afternoon behind the Grand Marquis wedding venue on Route 9 on Sunday is that of Stephanie Parze, a Freehold woman missing since October.
"It is with great sadness we announce that Stephanie Parze’s remains were recovered yesterday in Old Bridge," the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said in a message on its Twitter account on Monday morning. A press conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York the body found was "fairly decomposed."
Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet said the body was found in a wooded area just south of Old Mill Road in Old Bridge around 2:45 p.m. Authorities haven't said how she was discovered or made any statement yet as to a cause of death.
A lane was blocked on Route 9 southbound all night into the Monday morning commute to allow for a continuing investigation.
Edward Parze, Stephanie's father, had organized searches of his own every weekend to find any evidence in his daughter's disappearance. One of those searches, on Thanksgiving weekend, was in the area of Jake Brown Road in Old Bridge, which is two miles to the south of the Grand Marquis.
Earlier on Sunday, he organized a search off Geisler Road in Freehold, one of a series of searches the family has conducted on their own since Stephanie’s disappearance.
Following news of the discovery of a body, Edward Parze had posted a GIF of burning candles on his Facebook page.
Stephanie Parze went missing on Oct. 30 after a night out with family at a New Brunswick show starring a medium. Parze's car, phone, purse and the shoes that she wore that night were left at her late grandmother's home, where she was living with pets. There had been no sign of her since and no arrests were made in correction with her disappearance.
Stephanie's ex-boyfriend, John Ozbilgen, 29 was considered a "person of interest" in the case, authorities said. Ozbilgen hanged himself at his parents' Freehold home on Nov. 22.
Prior to his death, during a search of the Freehold Township home he shared with his parents, investigators found images of child pornography on his cell phone and took him into custody, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. Ozbilgen was charged with possession of child pornography and released from custody by a judge on Nov. 19.
During the hearing prosecutors revealed that Ozbilgen had sent Stephanie a number of "angry texts" in the days before she vanished. But he was never charged in connection with her disappearance.
Ozbilgen was also facing charges of domestic violence. In September, Ozbilgen was accused of hitting a woman's hand, "causing injury to her thumb and thumbnail," and hitting the side of her head with the back of his hand. That victim has been identified in some press reports as Parze.
In June, a different woman accused Ozbilgen of "pulling her hair and dragging her by her hair causing minor injury and pain/discomfort." That charge was later dismissed.
Stephane Parze had posted on her Facebook page in August that she was "in a relationship" with Ozbilgen and shared a number of posts with pictures of them together. Their relationship status on their profiles had since been changed to "single."
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