A woman who had been held for a year against her will managed to break free and flee to a gas station for help earlier this month in New Jersey.
The woman, who has not been identified, was allegedly held captive by 57-year-old James W. Parrillo in Burlington County. Parrillo has been charged with multiple charges including first-degree kidnapping, aggravated assault, criminal restraint, obstruction, and refusal to give a DNA sample.
According to police, Parrillo met the woman at a gas station in New Mexico and asked her for a ride to Arizona. He then proceeded to engage in a month-long consensual relationship with the woman that ended in California. However, the man allegedly proceeded to choke the woman and kept her from contacting her family while they were together.
The pair then made their way to Burlington County, New Jersey where Parrillo rented a room on the second floor of a home while still using his alias. On February 7, the woman managed to flee after Parrillo allegedly choked her during an argument.
Parrillo followed the woman after she rode a bike to a nearby gas station. The woman clothed only in a thin shirt, shorts, and barefoot, ran into the gas station, locked the door behind her, and asked for help, telling two attendants that Parrillo had held her against her will for about a year. Parrillo then tried to enter the store but was denied entry.
Service station manager Jaitin “Bobby” Madaan told a local New Jersey outlet that the woman was “terrified” when she ran into the store.
“She was shaking, she could barely get her words together but she kept saying, ‘He has kept me against my will for over a year. He kidnapped me,” he said.
According to Maddaan, Parillo also told the woman through the door, “You don’t want to do this.”
When authorities arrived, Parrillo refused to give them his real name and was arrested for hindering his own apprehension. He later admitted to choking the woman on February 7 and gave law enforcement his real name. In addition to the kidnapping charge, Parrillo is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, criminal restraint, and obstruction.
The woman is now safe, but authorities believe that Parrillo may have engaged in similarly abhorrent “predatory conduct” in other states and has been known to use multiple aliases. As such, the state Attorney General’s office is reaching out to law enforcement across multiple jurisdictions to see if anyone else has any additional information on the accused.
The case is still under investigation and the suspect is being held in jail as the charges pend. The Attorney General, Matt Platkin, reassured the public that his office is committed to doing everything it can to ensure justice is brought to the survivor.
The director of the Division of Criminal Justice, Pearl Minato said, “The allegations, if proven, demonstrate a level of predatory conduct that poses an extreme danger to anyone who crosses paths with this defendant.”