Man charged with kidnapping after allegedly holding woman hostage for nearly a year

The woman was able to flee to a nearby gas station, authorities said.

February 17, 2023, 7:46 PM

A man accused of holding a woman hostage for nearly a year was arrested and charged with kidnapping after the alleged victim managed to flee their residence to a gas station, authorities said.

James Parrillo Jr., 57, was arrested on Feb. 7 in Burlington County after the woman he allegedly kidnapped escaped from the residence they shared, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and New Jersey State Police.

The woman reportedly told police she first met Parrillo -- whom she knew by the name Brett Parker -- at a gas station in New Mexico in February 2022 and agreed to give him a ride to Arizona, prosecutors said. She reportedly said she was in a voluntary relationship with the man for about a month when he allegedly physically assaulted her while they were in California, "at which point she felt unable to leave the relationship," the New Jersey Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Parrillo allegedly took the woman's phone and debit cards and "isolated her from her family," the attorney general's office said. He allegedly verbally threatened her that if she left, "he would kill her and her family," according to the criminal complaint.

The two arrived in New Jersey sometime in December and were staying in a rented room in Bass River for about two weeks when she managed to escape following an argument with Parrillo, during which he allegedly beat and choked her, authorities said.

The woman bolted the door to the gas station and reportedly told the gas station attendant she had been kidnapped for approximately a year, authorities said.

"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," the New Jersey Attorney General's Office said.

The gas station attendant called state police, who apprehended Parrillo a short time later as he walked down County Road 542, authorities said.

PHOTO: The New Jersey Office of Attorney General released this booking photo of James Parrillo.
The New Jersey Office of Attorney General released this booking photo of James Parrillo.
New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

Parrillo has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault and third-degree criminal restraint, authorities said. He also faces charges of third-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree obstruction and refusing to provide a DNA sample.

He was ordered detained at the Burlington County Jail while awaiting trial during a hearing on Wednesday. ABC News was unable to reach his attorney for comment.

Information provided by the alleged victim and found on social media indicate that Parrillo "may have engaged in similar predatory conduct with individuals in other states," prosecutors said.

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

A spokesperson for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office said they have no further comment when asked about Parrillo's history.

Parrillo is known to go by different names, authorities said. New Jersey State Police are leading the ongoing investigation and have urged anyone with information to call 855-363-6548.