TRENTON, NJ – A man accused of holding a woman hostage for nearly a year has been arrested and charged with kidnapping after the alleged victim managed to escape from their home to a gas station, authorities said.
James Parillo Jr., 57, was arrested Feb. 7 in Burlington County, New Jersey, after the woman he allegedly kidnapped fled the home they shared, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police.
The woman reportedly told police she first met Parrillo, who she knew as Brett Parker, at a gas station in New Mexico in February 2022 and agreed to give him a ride to Arizona, prosecutors said. She had reportedly been in a consensual relationship with the man for about a month when he allegedly physically assaulted her while they were in California, “at which point she felt she could not leave the relationship,” the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. . statement
Parillo allegedly took the woman’s phone and debit cards and “isolated her from her family,” the attorney general’s office said.
They arrived in New Jersey sometime in December and had been staying in a rented room in Bass River for about two weeks when she managed to escape after an argument with Parillo in which he allegedly beat and choked her, authorities said.
The woman closed the gas station door and reportedly told the gas station attendant that she had been abducted about a year ago, authorities said.
“The station’s surveillance footage shows Parrillo following the woman into the gas station and trying to open the door, then leaving when he found it locked,” the New Jersey Attorney General’s office said.
A gas station attendant called state police, who arrested Parrillo a short time later as he walked down a nearby road, authorities said.
Parrillo was charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and third-degree aggravated assault and battery, authorities said. He also faces charges of third-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree obstruction and refusal to provide a DNA sample.
He was being held in the Burlington County Jail pending arraignment during a hearing Wednesday. ABC News could not reach his attorney for comment.
Information provided by the alleged victim and found on social media indicated that Parrillo “may have engaged in similar predatory behavior with individuals in other states,” prosecutors said.
“We are reaching out to law enforcement agencies in various jurisdictions to identify other people who may have additional information about the defendant,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement, calling the case “deeply troubling.”
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said they had no further comment when asked about Parillo’s story.
According to authorities, Parrillo is known by various names. New Jersey State Police are conducting an ongoing investigation and urge anyone with information to call 855-363-6548.
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