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Dad Says He Had Horrible 'Gut Feeling' About His Makeup Influencer Daughter's Ex-boyfriend Before Her Murder

Family loses their beloved daughter on Halloween eve as she allegedly gets attacked by her jilted lover.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Eyewitness News ABC7NY
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Eyewitness News ABC7NY

A social media influencer disappeared just before Halloween, leaving her phone behind at her grandmother's. Her remains were later found by two teenagers on a walk, and the murdered victim's ex-boyfriend became a suspect in the case.

Stephanie Parze, from Freehold, New Jersey, disappeared on October 30, 2019, after spending time with her family, Fox News reported. Ed Parze, said he felt in his gut that his daughter's ex-boyfriend, John Ozbilgen, had something to do with his girl's disappearance. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Donald Tong
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Donald Tong

According to Fox, Stephanie Parze had allegedly accused Ozbilgen of assault in the past.

"I didn’t like this person from the day I met him," Ed Parze told the outlet. "There wasn’t ever any eye contact with this guy. He was in and out. I even said to my daughter, ‘I’m not liking this. You’ve got to be careful with him.’ He was strange. I had a gut feeling from day one. …I just said, ‘It’s him.’"

Ed Parze had also talked with his daughter about his doubts, but she requested he give the situation time. "She would say, 'Give him a chance, he's shy. Once you get to know him, you'll like him,'" the father recalled.

"What do you say to that? You have my 25-year-old independent, strong daughter. She knows what she’s doing. You would hope that you’re proven wrong. But I still had that gut feeling. And then my gut feeling was right," Ed Parze said.


Stephanie Parze met Ozbilgen on an online dating site, Fox reported. Ozbilgen was working as a stockbroker in New York at that time, and when the duo met each other in real life, they quickly hit it off.

The relationship reportedly soon became tumultuous, and Stephanie Parze wanted out. Then, according to Fox, she claimed Ozbilgen was assaulting her.

In the days leading up to her disappearance, Stephanie Parze was anxious about her surroundings, People reported. In early October 2019, Stephanie called her mother saying the house she was living in was haunted, shared Brianna Parze, Stephanie Parze's sister.

Stephanie Parze came across a handprint on the bathroom mirror, "that looked like somebody put their hand on it and dragged their fingers down like somebody was seeing a horror movie," Ed Parze said.

After visiting her family on October 30, 2019, Stephanie Parze was supposed to drive back to her late grandmother's house. The next day, she had a nanny job lined up but did not show up. The police found her car, as well as her phone, at her grandma's house, but did not notice any signs of forced entry.


Ed Parze and his wife felt uneasy about their daughter the night of her disappearance, Fox reported. "Stephanie only lived about six minutes from here," Ed Parze explained. "She always called and texted whenever she got home. But when 25 minutes went by, and we didn’t hear anything, we immediately knew something was wrong."

Stephanie Parze's mother called her daughter multiple times but did not get any response. Ed Parze was hoping that his daughter was tired and had put the phone on silent. Though he was feeling anxious he went to bed praying that he would get a call from his daughter in the morning.

"If you blew her phone up, she would call you immediately," said Ed Parze, Fox reported.

"We went to bed that night not knowing what happened. The next morning, we still didn’t get that phone call. We then went over to the house. ... We couldn’t find her at all. Nobody had seen her. And that started the search," he added.

The Parze family organized a search to look for Stephanie Parze, who regularly posted makeup skills on social media and had a loyal following. Many of her followers also joined the search party. 

"I used to go on Facebook every night and just start putting posts out there," said Ed Parze, Fox reported.

"More and more people came forward wanting to help. It pulled at my heartstrings. …I didn’t realize how far these posts had reached out to people. …Many people just recognized Stephanie from her face and being online all the time."


Investigation Discovery’s true-crime series Deadly Influence covered the case and revealed that police found several threatening text messages allegedly from Ozbilgen to Stephanie Parze.

On November 8, 2019, Ozbilgen was arrested in association with another case, Fox reported. He was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child — possession of child pornography, the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office said in a statement.

Police allegedly found the suspicious images on Ozbilgen's phone when they were investigating Stephanie Parze's disappearance.

On November 19, 2019, Ozbilgen was released from custody, Fox reported. Three days later he committed suicide. Though nothing was ever proved, Ozbilgen left a note implying that he was responsible for Stephanie Parze's murder.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni shared a note Ozbilgen left for his parents. The message, Gramiccioni said, reads that Ozbilgen "had enough and that he could not do life in prison" and that whatever they heard about him in the news was true except the child pornography accusations, Gramiccioni said.

In January 2020, two teenagers discovered human remains in Old Bridge alongside Route 9, Fox reported. On analysis, the remains were confirmed to belong to Stephanie Parze. Because so much time had passed, authorities could not determine her manner of death.

Ed Parze has since established The Stephanie Nicole Parze Foundation. The objective of the organization is to "provide education, intervention, and support to families and individuals dealing with domestic violence, sexual abuse, and missing loved ones."

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