Woman escapes yearlong kidnapping with mad dash to New Jersey gas station, authorities say

Woman escapes yearlong kidnapping with mad dash to New Jersey gas station, authorities say

After enduring a year of abuse at the hands of a man who held her captive, a woman made a “heroic” dash to safety at a New Jersey gas station, authorities said.

The alleged kidnapper, James Parrillo Jr., was arrested in Bass River Township on Feb. 7 and Charged with first-degree kidnapping and many other crimes, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said.

New Jersey State Police Chief Colonel Patrick J. Callahan says, “The strength and bravery of the female victim who successfully fended off her assailant is nothing short of heroic.”

The woman, whom authorities did not identify in a news release Friday, noticed a door inside the Bass River gas station could be locked from the inside. The 57-year-old Parrillo held her captive in a nearby rental, police said.

On Feb. 7, the attorney general’s office said, “Parillo began beating and choking the woman” until he stopped for a moment when he realized there were other people in the building. The woman took the opportunity to escape to the gas station in 42-degree weather wearing only a shirt and shorts.

Parrillo followed him to the gas station but was unable to break down the door, authorities said. The woman told an attendant her story and they called the police. Officers spotted Parrillo walking down the street and detained him.

The woman’s ordeal began in February 2022 in New Mexico, police said. He agreed to give the man, whom he knew only as “Brett Parker,” a ride to Arizona. They start a consensual relationship together.

But about a month later, Parrillo physically assaulted the woman and she was afraid to leave, authorities said. In the weeks that followed, Parillo took away her phone and credit cards while cutting her off from her family, according to investigators.

Both arrived in New Jersey in December, police said. The woman said she had been renting the Bass River room for about two weeks before she ran away.

Parrillo was charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault, third-degree criminal restraint, third-degree obstructing apprehension and fourth-degree obstruction.

“This is a deeply troubling case in which the defendant held a woman against her will for nearly a year, traveling with her across the country, before ending up in New Jersey where she was able to escape,” said Attorney General Matthew Plotkin.

“Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that this survivor is brought to justice.”

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