The former boyfriend of the New Jersey makeup artist who vanished October 30 after an outing with her family had allegedly assaulted her the month before – and sent her at least 10 angry unanswered messages the night before she went missing, prosecutors revealed in court Tuesday.
Former stockbroker John Ozbilgen, 29, who is a person of interest in the disappearance of Stephanie Parze, 25, of Freehold, sent her a stream of heated, profanity-laced texts and Facebook messages the night before she went missing, Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley said in Monmouth Superior Court, the Asbury Park Press reports.
“Detectives learned that this defendant was texting and Facebook messaging Parze the night before her disappearance,” Sidley told the court, NJ.com reports. “Those messages spanned just over nine minutes long. There were 10 unanswered messages, concluding with calling Stephanie Parze a “f—king c—” and telling her that she ‘always has to make their relationship suck.’”
Ozbilgen was in court for a hearing to determine whether he should be released from jail, where he’d been held for the past 11 days on child pornography charges, News 12 New Jersey reports.
He became a person of interest shortly after Parze disappeared from her late grandmother’s home in Freehold, where she’d been living, say police.
Armed with a search warrant, detectives looked through his phone and found two search terms on his browser related to child pornography and an image of child porn on his phone, Sidley said, NJ.com reports.
They obtained a second warrant to search his phone and found more pictures of children as young as 3 years old being sexually assaulted, Sidley said, NJ.com reports.
“He had 10 separate victims in those images that were on his phone,” Sidley said, News 12 New Jersey reports. “Ten separate babies, 10 separate toddlers, young children who were sexually exploited or assaulted for his and others’ gratification.”
He was arrested and charged with one count of possession of child pornography.
During the court appearance, prosecutors also revealed that on Sept. 23, Parze had filed a simple assault domestic violence complaint against Ozbilgen after he allegedly assaulted her, the Asbury Park Press reports.
Authorities allegedly saw marks around Ozbilgen’s neck while talking to him about Parze’s disappearance, the prosecutor said, NJ.com reports.
He has not been charged in Parze’s disappearance.
In trying to convince the judge that Ozbilgen should remain in jail for the safety of the community, the prosecutor said that two other women had accused him of domestic violence in the past year, NJ.com reports.
One of the women has an active restraining order against him, Sidley said, NJ.com reports.
“His violence against women is borne out in his history, as well as pornography he seeks out of very young children,” Sidley told the judge. “There are no conditions that can keep this community safe.”
His attorney, Robert Honecker Jr., said his client “maintains his innocence in regard to the child pornography,” the Asbury Park Press reports.
After the hearing, he said, “My client maintains that he did not have these things on his phone intentionally,” the outlet reports.
The judge ordered him released from jail.
Parze, who’d described herself as single on her Facebook page, started dating Ozbilgen in August.
Her distraught family hasn’t stopped looking for her since she went missing on Oct. 30, around 10 p.m., when she messaged her parents on the way back home. They called police when they found her car, purse and phone at the house the next day.
Shortly after Parze vanished, police searched a wooded area of Staten Island, near where Ozbilgen used to work. They are planning to continue their search for her this week in Freehold.
Her mother told News 12, “I just want her home.”
On Nov. 4, a family friend started a GoFundMe campaign to support Parze’s family during the search.
Anyone with information, or anyone who has had contact with Parze, should contact Detective Shawn Murphy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032, or Detective Daniel Valentine of the Freehold Township Police at 732-462-7908.
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