Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault Charges Against Man Accused of Holding a Woman Hostage for Nearly a Year as They Traveled Across Country to New Jersey

February 17, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police today announced the arrest of a man charged with kidnapping a woman he met in New Mexico last year, traveling to New Jersey with her, and assaulting her in the Burlington County residence where they rented a room.

James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, was arrested on February 7, after the woman allegedly escaped from the Bass River Township residence they shared and fled to a nearby gas station. Parrillo is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint.

According to information placed on the record during court proceedings and documents filed in the case, the victim met the defendant, whom she knew as “Brett Parker”, at a gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico sometime in February 2022. At his request, she agreed to give him a ride to Arizona. The woman said she was in a voluntary relationship with the defendant for about a month when he physically assaulted her while the two were in California, at which point she felt unable to leave the relationship. During their time together, Parrillo allegedly took away the woman’s phone, confiscated and utilized her debit cards, and isolated her from her family. The pair allegedly arrived in New Jersey sometime in December.

Parrillo was detained at the Burlington County Jail pending trial following a hearing before Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Garringer in Burlington County on Wednesday. In successfully arguing for pre-trial detention, Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton said information provided by the alleged victim, along with information found on social media and other online sites, indicate that Parrillo may have engaged in similar predatory conduct with individuals in other states and that public safety demands he not be released.

“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 where she was able to escape,” said Attorney General Platkin. “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.”

“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,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The dedication and diligence of the troopers, detectives, and members of the Division of Criminal Justice is to be commended, but the strength and bravery of the female victim who successfully escaped her assailant is nothing short of heroic. We encourage anyone who has information or evidence related to the criminal allegations against the defendant to contact the New Jersey State Police.”

“The allegations, if proven, demonstrate a level of predatory conduct that poses an extreme danger to anyone who crosses paths with this defendant,” said Director Pearl Minato of the Division of Criminal Justice. “I commend the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice for working together to quickly apprehend this man and ensure that he remains in custody while these various serious charges are pending. If you or someone you know has any additional information regarding this defendant, we urge you to contact the New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548.”

According to statements made in court and documents filed in the case, Parrillo and the alleged victim had been staying in the rented room in Bass for about two weeks when she managed to escape. Noticing an interior deadbolt on the door of a nearby gas station during a prior visit, the alleged victim planned to flee to safety there when an opportunity presented itself. On February 7, when Parrillo began beating and choking her during an argument inside the residence, which they shared with several other individuals. Parrillo allegedly ceased assaulting the woman when he realized the two were not alone in the house and she ran from the house with nothing on but shorts and a shirt in the 42-degree weather. Once inside the gas station, the woman bolted the

door and told an attendant she had been kidnapped for approximately a year. Footage from the station’s security camera shows Parrillo following the woman to the gas station and attempting to open the door, then leaving when he found it locked. An attendant at the station summoned New Jersey State Police who apprehended Parrillo a short time later as he walked down County Road 542. Parrillo is also charged with third-degree hindering apprehension, and fourth-degree obstruction and refusing to provide a DNA sample.

Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice, with assistance from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

An ongoing investigation is being led by New Jersey State Police.

First-degree kidnapping carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges against the defendant are merely accusations he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Office of the Attorney General acknowledges the contributions made by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Lachia L. Bradshaw, to this investigation.

Defense Attorney: Anthony Rizzo, Esq.

James W. Parrillo Jr.

*Known to Go By Different Names*

If You or Someone You Know Has Information on This Man

Please Call New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548


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