Police: Woman Escapes in NJ From Year-long Cross-country Kidnapping
A woman who had been held against her will since last February during a cross-country kidnapping managed to escape her captor in New Jersey, according to officials.
James Parrilo Jr., 57, was arrested on Feb. 7, after the woman allegedly escaped from the Burlington County home they were renting and fled to a nearby gas station, according to the Attorney General's Office.
Parrillo has been charged with kidnapping, strangulation, aggravated assault, and criminal restraint, among other offenses.
According to statements and documents in the case, the victim met Parrillo at a gas station along Interstate 10 in New Mexico in February 2022. Parrillo identified himself as "Brett Parker," and at his request, the victim agreed to give him a ride to Arizona, officials said.
The woman told authorities she was in a voluntary relationship with the man for about a month before he physically assaulted her in California. At that point, the victim told authorities, she felt unable to leave the relationship.
During their time together, Parrillo allegedly took away the woman's phone, used her debit cards, and isolated her from her family, the Attorney General's Office said.
The pair arrived in New Jersey sometime in December, officials said.
Parrillo and the alleged victim had been renting a room in Bass River Township for about two weeks when she managed to escape.
On Feb. 7, Parrillo began beating and choking the victim during an argument inside their rental, but stopped assaulting her when he realized they were not alone in the shared home, officials said.
At that point, officials said, the woman ran from the house with nothing on but shorts and a shirt in 42-degree weather, and headed for a gas station that she had previously noticed was equipped with an interior deadbolt.
Once inside, the woman told an attendant that she had been kidnapped for approximately a year.
According to officials, footage from the gas station's surveillance camera shows Parrillo following the woman to the gas station and attempting to open the door. He left when he found it locked.
A gas station worker alerted police, who apprehended Parrillo a short time later along County Road 542.
In addition to the violence-related charges, Parrillo has been charged with hindering apprehension, obstruction, and refusing to provide a DNA sample.
According to officials, Parrillo is "known to go by different names." Anyone with information on this man can contact New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548.