Man held woman against her will for a year before escaping, officials say

A New Jersey man is charged with holding a woman against her will for a year before she escaped and sought help at a gas station earlier this month, authorities said Friday.

The woman sought help at a Burlington County gas station on Feb. 7 and told people she had been kidnapped for a year, the state attorney general’s office said.

James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation, and third-degree aggravated assault and criminal coercion, and is being held in jail pending trial, officials said.

“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 across the country, before ending up here in the New Jersey where she was able to escape,” Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in a statement.

Security video obtained by NBC Philadelphia shows the woman, who has not been named, running into the store and locking the door, with a man following close behind.

“The lady came running, like she was barefoot, and she said, ‘He kidnapped me,'” gas station attendant Jamie Garthaus said. “So we ran inside and locked the door.”

Parrillo was arrested the same day. An attorney representing Parrillo could not immediately be reached for comment Friday evening.

The woman told authorities they met at a gas station in New Mexico in February 2022 when Parrillo asked her to go to Arizona, and that they were initially a couple, the office said. Attorney General.

Parrillo assaulted her a month later while they were in California, and she felt unable to leave, the New Jersey attorney general’s office and state police said.

Parrillo took the woman’s phone and credit and debit cards, took her away from her family and held her against her will, ultimately in New Jersey, officials said. They arrived in the state in December.

Officials said the woman had noticed the deadbolt at the gas station on a previous visit and planned to run to it when she had the chance.

She fled the home where they lived in Bass River Township on Feb. 7 after being suffocated and assaulted, the attorney general’s office and state police said.

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