Kidnap victim escapes in NJ after terrifying year of captivity
🚨 A man is charged with kidnapping a woman until she escaped at an NJ gas station
🚨 Authorities warn James Parrillo Jr. poses an "extreme danger" and may have victims in other states
🚨 Anyone with information on Parrillo or his aliases is asked to call State Police at 855-363-6548.
BASS RIVER — A woman kidnapped by her boyfriend has escaped to a Burlington County gas station after being held in captivity for nearly a year, according to the Attorney General's Office.
James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, and the victim met at a gas station in New Mexico in February 2022, authorities said. He asked for a ride to Arizona and she obliged, kicking off a relationship that seemed normal at first.
But it quickly soured. The victim told investigators that the man had given her a fake name: "Brett Parker." And according to the attorney general, Parrillo assaulted her during a trip to California just one month into their romance; the attack left the victim feeling she was "unable to leave the relationship."
Parrillo is accused of then taking the woman's phone and debit cards and cutting her off from her family.
Authorities said that sometime in December, Parrillo and the victim arrived in New Jersey. Then in January, they began renting a room at a house in Bass River that they shared with other people.
During a visit to a local gas station, the woman noticed the building's door had a deadbolt. She began plotting her escape.
Her opportunity came on Feb. 7. According to the attorney general, Parrillo was beating and choking the victim until he realized that someone else was also home. She ran from the residence and went straight to the gas station.
The victim locked the door and told a gas station attendant that she had been kidnapped for nearly a year. The worker called State Police as Parrillo arrived at the gas station and tried to force his way in, according to the attorney general.
State troopers arrested Parrillo soon after walking along County Road 542. Authorities said he refused to provide a DNA sample.
Parrillo is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree criminal restraint, third-degree hindering apprehension, and fourth-degree obstruction. If convicted, officials say he could face over 60 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
“The allegations, if proven, demonstrate a level of predatory conduct that poses an extreme danger to anyone who crosses paths with this defendant,” said Pearl Minato, director of the Division of Criminal Justice.
Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton, who is prosecuting the case, said information from the victim and social media showed Parrillo was engaged in a pattern of predatory behavior with people in other states. She successfully argued in court that Parrillo be held at Burlington County jail pending trial.
Anyone with information on Parrillo is asked to call State Police at 855-363-6548.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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