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‘A year-long nightmare’: Man charged with kidnapping woman, holding her against her will

James W. Parrillo Jr. (NJ Attorney General's Office)

James W. Parrillo Jr. (NJ Attorney General’s Office)

A 57-year-old man was arrested in New Jersey for allegedly kidnapping a woman and holding her against her will for nearly a year before she escaped.

James W. Parrillo Jr. was arrested and charged with one count each of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation, aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint, authorities said. He also faces charges of hindering apprehension and obstruction for allegedly refusing to provide a DNA sample.

According to a news release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the victim met Parrillo, who she knew as Brett Parker, at a gas station in New Mexico in February 2022. She gave him a ride to Arizona.

The two got into a short-lived relationship, then things changed.

About a month after they met, the couple was in California when he allegedly began to assault the victim. Prosecutors say Parrilen took away her phone, used her debit card, and isolated her from her family for nearly a year.

The case came to light after the couple rented a room at a home in New Jersey in December.

In that home on Feb. 7, prosecutors said Parrillo beat and choked the woman in an argument but stopped when he realized the two were not alone in the house, officials said.

She ran to a gas station, bolted the door, and told an attendant she had been kidnapped. The suspect followed her and tried to open the locked door but left and was arrested later.

“The allegations of kidnapping and abuse at the hands of the defendant represent a year-long nightmare endured by the victim that spanned several states across the country, ultimately coming to an end here in New Jersey,” Col. Patrick J. Callahan, the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said in a statement.

At a bond hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said they found evidence that Parrillo engaged in similar predatory conduct with individuals in other states.

“This is a deeply disturbing case,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in a statement. “We are reaching out to law enforcement across jurisdictions to identify other people who may have additional information on the defendant.”

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.