Parents of Stephanie Parze’s accused killer say he was innocent
FREEHOLD BOROUGH — While expressing sorrow for the death of Stephanie Parze, the parents of the now-deceased man accused of murdering the 25-year-old woman said through a lawyer this week they do not believe their son committed the crime.
"We are very sorry for her family and we hope they can find peace through this nightmare," attorney Richard E. Incremona said on behalf of the parents of 29-year-old John Ozbilgen Wednesday night in an emailed statement to NJ 101.5.
Ozbilgen took his own life in November while facing charges of child pornography. He'd been described at the time as a person of interest in Stephanie Parze's disappearance.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Monday that Ozbilgen had left behind a suicide note that told his parents that what they "would hear on the news would be true" — with the exception of the allegations of child porn.
Of Parze's murder, "No one else is responsible for her death. That responsibility belongs to John Ozbilgen, and John Ozbilgen alone," Gramiccioni said Monday, while also adding the suicide note from Ozbilgen said he'd "had enough and could not do life in prison."
Haken and Cynthia Ozbilgen said they do not agree with the conclusions reached by the prosecutor's office, as their written statement continued.
"We don't truly know what happened to Stephanie, but what we do know is John never said that he hurt Stephanie to us or in the note he left us. We believe he is innocent, but all the pressure from the false child pornography charges and the constant searches and relentlessness caused him to take his own life," the Ozbilgens said in a statement provided by their lawyer.
The statement was first reported by the Asbury Park Press, though the family's lawyer has since provided a copy to New Jersey 101.5 as well.
Parze's body was found in a wooded area off Route 9 in Old Bridge on Jan. 26, behind the Grand Marquis wedding venue by two teenagers walking to work there.
Parze, a Freehold Township resident, had been missing since the end of October.
She will be laid to rest Friday, after a funeral service at St. Rose of Lima church.
With previous reporting by Dan Alexander
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