Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, have announced the arrest of a man charged with kidnapping a woman he met in New Mexico last year, traveling to New Jersey with her and assaulting her in the Burlington County residence where they rented a room — and they’re seeking additional information about the man who is known to have used several aliases.
James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, was arrested Feb. 7, after the woman reportedly escaped from the Bass River Township residence they shared and fled to a nearby gas station.
Parrillo was charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint.
According to information placed on the record during court proceedings and documents filed in the case, the victim met the defendant, whom she knew as “Brett Parker,” at a gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico sometime in February 2022.
At his request, she agreed to give him a ride to Arizona. The woman said she was in a voluntary relationship with the defendant for about a month when he physically assaulted her while the two were in California, at which point she felt unable to leave the relationship.
During their time together, Parrillo allegedly took away the woman’s phone, confiscated and utilized her debit cards and isolated her from her family. The pair reportedly arrived in New Jersey sometime in December.
Parrillo was detained at the Burlington County Jail pending trial following a hearing before Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Garringer on Feb. 15. In successfully arguing for pre-trial detention, Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton said information provided by the alleged victim, along with information found on social media and other online sites, indicate Parrillo may have engaged in similar predatory conduct with individuals in other states and public safety demands he not be released.
“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 throughout the country, before ending up here in New Jersey where she was able to escape,” Platkin said. “We are reaching out to law enforcement across jurisdictions to identify other people who may have additional information on the defendant. Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we bring justice to this survivor.”
Callaghan says he was disturbed by this case.
“The allegations of kidnapping and abuse at the hands of the defendant represent a year-long nightmare endured by the victim that spanned several states across the country ultimately coming to an end here in New Jersey,” Callahan said. “The dedication and diligence of the troopers, detectives and members of the Division of Criminal Justice is to be commended, but the strength and bravery of the female victim who successfully escaped her assailant is nothing short of heroic. We encourage anyone who has information or evidence related to the criminal allegations against the defendant to contact the New Jersey State Police.”
Meanwhile, authorities hope someone out there has additional information about Parrillo and his reported conduct.
“The allegations, if proven, demonstrate a level of predatory conduct that poses an extreme danger to anyone who crosses paths with this defendant,” Pearl Minato, director of the Division of Criminal Justice, said. “I commend the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice for working together to quickly apprehend this man and ensure that he remains in custody while these various serious charges are pending. If you or someone you know has any additional information regarding this defendant, we urge you to contact the New Jersey State Police at (855) 363-6548.”
Documents filed in the case also reveal Parrillo and the victim had been staying in the rented room in Bass River for about two weeks when she managed to escape. Noticing an interior deadbolt on the door of a nearby gas station during a prior visit, the alleged victim planned to flee to safety there when an opportunity presented itself.
On Feb. 7, when Parrillo began beating and choking her during an argument inside the residence, which they shared with several other individuals. Parrillo allegedly ceased assaulting the woman when he realized the two were not alone in the house and she ran from the house with nothing on but shorts and a shirt in 42-degree weather.
Once inside the gas station, the woman bolted the door and told an attendant she had been kidnapped for approximately a year. 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. An attendant at the station summoned New Jersey State Police who apprehended Parrillo a short time later as he walked down County Road 542.
Parrillo is also charged with third-degree hindering apprehension, and fourth-degree obstruction and refusing to provide a DNA sample.
First-degree kidnapping carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.