Like many, Stephanie Parze, her mother, and her sisters, were excited to attend a live reading with Travel Channel’s Cindy Kaza. Known as an ‘evidential medium’, Kaza has fascinated audiences with her gift of spirit communication ever since she was ten-years-old, and saw her childhood friend “standing next to her bed.” That same friend was killed in a fatal car accident only days prior.
The live event quickly sold out, but the Parze girls had reserved their spots just in time.
The day after, Stephanie’s mother, Sharlene Parze, was excited to discuss details of the night’s reading, so she called her daughter’s cell. Sharlene knew that although the event lasted into the late evening, Stephanie had work the next morning from 9am to 6pm. She rang her daughter again and again, but her phone kept sending her to voicemail.
What Sharlene didn’t know was that Stephanie’s employer had also been calling her phone when she didn’t show up.
Phone and Purse Still In House
At the time of her disappearance, 25-year-old Stephanie Parze was living at her grandmother’s home in Freehold Township where she was caring for her grandmother’s dogs.
It was there that her white Hyundai Sonata was still parked in the driveway, and her phone resting on the couch. Her purse and shoes were also at her grandmother’s home.
Sharlene promptly contacted police and reported her daughter as a missing person. The Parze family created flyers with Stephanie’s photo and what she was wearing at the time of her disappearance; a v-neck, burgundy blue jeans, and a burgundy sweater.
A Tough Kid
Stephanie Parze was the oldest of four sisters and a “tough kid”, according to her father, Edward Parze, 54, who also told the Asbury Park Press that her daughter was:
“independent and always has to have the last word. But she’s caring, and she loved children.”
Stephanie graduated from Freehold Township High School, where she excelled as a catcher on the softball team. Upon graduating, she pursued art and cosmetology, which, according to her Facebook, worked as a wax specialist at European Wax Center. She also worked as a sought-after makeup artist at LA Artistry in Jackson.
Browsing her makeup portfolio, it is easy to see the talent that Stephanie Parze had.
On November 5th, a tweet from Jim Murdock News 12, New Jersey, shared fresh developments in Stephanie’s case. The police had arrested a person of interest.
Police had also said that a search for Stephanie’s remains would focus on a “heavily wooded area in Richmond Valley”.
The Abusive On-and-Off Boyfriend
Using cellphone records, along with the mother’s suspicions, Stephanie’s ex-boyfriend John Ozbilgen, was arrested after police tracked his recent location in the same “heavily wooded area”. Pinging Ozbilgen cellphone showed he spent six hours trampling around the tall grasses and vines, which gave the police a strong suspicion that Stephanie’s remains were nearby.
John D. Ozbilgen, 29, was a Staten Island stock broker who was on and off with Parze and can be seen in many of her Facebook photos. Police already knew Ozbilgen after being arrested years earlier as a member of a drug-selling ring.
Police arrested Ozbilgen after searching his home for information about Parze’s whereabouts. Executing a warrant to search John’s phone, police discovered he had been downloading child pornography.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said the scene of arrest “was completely unrelated to the disappearance of Stephanie Parze”, but that he would be charged with one felony count of child pornography.
The Woodstock Financial Group, where Ozbilgen was employed, quickly fired the disgraced stock broker.
While investigators built their case, John posted bond, but would have to check in to the court twice per month. A judge also barred him from using the Internet and any drugs before his trial.
Used Her For Sex
Cellphone records show that Stephanie Parze was in contact with John on the night of October 30th, after the live event. The back-and-forth texts between the two show that Ozbilgen was using Stephanie for sex, which he bragged about on his social media posts.
Realizing that he would most likely be convicted of Stephanie Parze’s murder, John Ozbilgen committed suicide by hanging himself in his garage. Ozbilgen left a note addressed to his family, but did not disclose the location of Stephanie’s body.
Fortunately, Stephanie’s remains were eventually found by searchers on January 26th, near Route 9.