February 21, 2023
Disturbing CCTV footage from a gas station in New Jersey of a woman escaping her captor has been circulating on various media outlets this week. The footage shows a woman running barefoot into a gas station and locking the door behind her, with a large, bald male following closely behind. The man in the footage has been identified as James W. Parrillo Jr, a 57-year-old man who was arrested on February 7, 2023, and charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation, aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint. Additional charges include third-degree hindering apprehension, and fourth-degree obstruction and refusing to provide a DNA sample.
The woman, who remains unnamed in the media, is said to have met Parrillo Jr. last year in February 2022 at a Pilot gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico.
Parrillo introduced himself to the victim as “Brett Parker” and asked if she could take him to Arizona, to which she responded that she could. The two became an item and were together consensually for around a month, but Parrillo began physically harming the woman while they were in California. At this point, the victim stated that she was afraid to break it off with her abuser, fearing for her safety. She alleged that Parrillo confiscated her cell phone so she couldn’t reach out to anyone back home and isolated her from her loved ones. She said that he also took her ID and credit and debit cards which he began using them without asking. He kept her identification and bank cards in his own wallet.
By December of 2022, the pair had relocated to New Jersey. Before the victim made a break for freedom, the pair were staying in a rented room in Bass River Township, Burlington County and had been living there for around 9 days. According to a statement, they shared this accommodation with several other individuals and had paid in cash up-front.
At the time the victim escaped, she had been held captive by Parrillo for around a year and had been dragged across several states. Investigation into in the perpetrator revealed that he went by several aliases and had put several previous victims through the same ordeal.
The victim told police that she became confident in her escape plan after noticing on a prior trip to the local gas station that the door had a dead bolt lock on the interior that she could close by herself from the inside.
On the afternoon of February 7, 2023, Parrillo began physically assaulting the victim in their rented room, believing that the two were alone in the house, however, other individuals witnessed the attack.
CCTV footage from that day shows the victim and a male who is believed to be Parrillo, approach the same gas station. The footage shows the victim seizing her chance, narrowly escaping Parrillo as he looms within arms-reach of her, and shutting the gas station door, leaving him outside. The male can be seen staring briefly through the window of the door from the outside looking in as he realises his victim had bolted the door behind her. The man believed to be Parrillo can be seen turning on his heal and walking away at a quick pace, before driving past the door one last time on his bicycle.
The victim was dressed in shorts and a thin shirt with no shoes on a cold February day. The perpetrator was also said to be barefoot.
Workers at the gas station said they heard a woman screaming before the victim entered the property and bolted the door.
The victim exclaimed, “He kidnapped me! He kidnapped me!” while Parrillo was heard to warn, “You don’t wanna do this! You don’t wanna do this!”
They took her to the staff room where she told them that she had been held captive by a man for a year and the staff quickly called police to report the incident.
One of the workers, Jamie Garthaus, recalled seeing bruises in the shape of thumb or fingerprints around the woman’s throat.
James W. Parrillo Jr. was arrested later that day, after being apprehended on County Road 542 where he was found walking. He is currently being detained at the Burlington County Jail while he awaits trial. Parrillo could serve between 15-30 years if sentenced to First-degree kidnapping, or 10 years in the second-degree. His next court hearing will happen March 29, 2023.
Attorney General Platkin said of the case: “This is a deeply disturbing case in which the defendant allegedly held a woman against her will for nearly a year, while traveling with her throughout the country, before ending up here in New Jersey. “We are reaching out to law enforcement across jurisdictions to identify other people who may have additional information on the defendant. Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we bring justice to this survivor.”
Information pertaining to James W. Parrillo Jr. can be provided to the following contact:
New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548
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