The former boyfriend of a New Jersey nanny who disappeared without a trace three weeks ago killed himself in his home Friday morning, authorities said.
John Ozbilgen, 29, who was recently named a person of interest in the disappearance of 25-year-old Stephanie Parze, died at his Freehold Township home overnight, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said. The stockbroker’s death comes just three days after he was released from jail in connection with an unrelated child pornography case.
“The Medical Examiner has determined the cause and manner of death for John Ozbilgen was a suicide,” the prosecutor’s office said. “The investigation remains active. More info will be released as it becomes available.”
Parze was last seen on Oct. 30 after visiting a New Brunswick psychic’s show with several family members. After dropping off her parents at their home, authorities say the 25-year-old sent her mother a Snapchat and then went to her late grandmother’s house in Freehold, where she had been staying.
“She’d been staying there to keep an eye on the dogs for the better part of a year,” Edward Parze, her father, previously told NJ.com.
Prosecutors allege Ozbilgen sent his on-again, off-again girlfriend a slew angry text messages the night before she disappeared, calling her a “fucking slut” and blaming her for their failed relationship.
“Detectives learned that this defendant was texting and Facebook messaging Parze the night before her disappearance,” Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley said in a court hearing, according to NJ.com. “Those messages spanned just over nine-minutes long. There were 10 unanswered messages, concluding with calling Stephanie Parze a fucking slut and telling her that she ‘always has to make their relationship suck.’”
The cosmetologist, who moonlighted as a nanny, did not show up for a babysitting job on Halloween night, prompting her family to report her missing. Her cell phone was found inside her grandmother’s house, which is about an hour outside of New York City, and her car was still parked in the driveway.
Over the last three weeks, the search for Parze has taken investigators all around the tri-state region, including a wooded area in Staten Island. The Parze family is also conducting their own private searches.
Prosecutors allege that Ozbilgen was often aggressive in his relationship with Parze, pointing to her decision to file a domestic-violence complaint against him in September. During an investigation into her allegations, Parze told investigators she was afraid for her life.
The domestic-violence complaint was revealed earlier this month when Ozbilgen—who was recently fired by the Staten Island-based Woodstock Financial Group—was arrested on a child pornography charge on Nov. 8. Authorities said they found at least nine images of sexually abused children as young as three in his home.
Prosecutors also revealed during a court hearing eight days later that Ozbilgen was “a person of interest” in Parze’s disappearance. They cited another woman’s restraining order against him in New York and three separate domestic-violence allegations made by three victims in the last year. No further details were provided during the Nov. 19 hearing, according to the Asbury Park Press.
“[Ozbilgen’s] violence against women is borne out in his history, as well as pornography he seeks out of very young children. There are no conditions that can keep this community safe,” Sidley said.
His defense attorney, Robert Honecker Jr., denied the child-porn allegations, but acknowledged his client was a person of interest in Parze’s disappearance.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741