Missing Freehold woman’s dad leads his own search for daughter
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — The father of a 25-year-old woman who has been missing for nearly three weeks will lead a search of his own on Wednesday.
Stephanie Parze appears to have vanished from her home on Oct. 30 after a night out with family and friends.
Police were called the next day when her family could not reach her by phone. Parze left behind her car, phone, purse, and shoes that she wore that night.
Stephanie's father, Edward, is organizing a search of an area near Michael Tighe Park in Freehold Township on Wednesday. About 200 people have signed up to help with the search.
"We're just trying to check off some boxes and putting pieces together," Parze told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday. "We're using our own maps and stuff to check areas that we think people frequented and know about. It will give us peace of mind about certain locations."
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office along with the NYPD have conducted several searches of Long Pond Park, a 91-acre park in Staten Island not far from Route 440 and the Outerbridge Crossing.
Parze's ex-boyfriend, who investigators consider a person of interest, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography, which police said they found after examining his phone as part of their search for Parze. He has not been charged with any crime related to Parze's disappearance.
John Ozbilgen, 29, was released from jail at a detention hearing on Tuesday on possession of child pornography charges. A prosecutor told the judge that Ozbilgen sent 10 angry texts to Stephanie the night before she vanished.
Ozbilgen also is facing a domestic violence charge by a woman who media outlets, citing law enforcement authorities, have identified as Parze.
Edward Parze said he is amazed at the support he and his family have received from the community. He said their days have had emotional ups and downs. Monday was a difficult day as his daughter's disappearance neared the three-week mark, he said.
"(Tuesday) was a little better. We had a lot of people here supporting us. We had a full house. It's been a little calmer. We just had a meeting with all the people helping with the search. The support from the community and the surrounding community is amazing. I can't believe how many people are giving us a hand. It's crazy," Parze said.
No law enforcement will be part of the search although some off-duty officers and first responders will be part of the search.
"While we’re not involved in the upcoming search that Mr. Parze has organized, we are continuing to do all that we can to obtain answers as to Stephanie’s whereabouts," Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Chris Swendeman said. "We understand the Parze’s need to use any and all resources possible to locate their beloved family member."
Parze would not discuss his daughter's relationship with Ozbilgen.
"I can't really comment on anything about him," he said.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office asked anyone with information about Parze's whereabouts, or anyone who recently has had contact with Parze, to call their office at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032, or Freehold Township police at 732-462-7908.
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