MONMOUTH COUNTY – A man recently arrested for child pornography, who was linked to missing 25-year-old Stephanie Parze of Freehold, was released today, police said.
John Ozbilgen, 29, of Freehold Township was charged with third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child for possession of child pornography, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. He was released after being charged.
The police have said that Ozbilgen’s arrest was not connected to Parze’s disappearance, but a coincidence.
Other media have speculated the connection between the two. According to the Asbury Park Press, Ozbilgen is reportedly a former boyfriend of Parze. Social media posts confirm that Parze and Ozbilgen entered into a relationship on August 19 but Parze’s account most recently identified her as single. One station called him a “person of interest.” These words, however, did not come from the prosecutor’s office.
On Nov. 8, a search was conducted Ozbilgen’s Freehold Township home. During the search, police seized two electronic devices and conducted a “forensic review” of Ozbilgen’s iPhone X, which revealed an image of child pornography, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
If convicted, Ozbilgen faces a sentence of up to five years in state prison.
Despite the social connection, authorities maintain that Ozbilgen’s arrest was “completely unrelated” to Parze’s disappearance.
Over the past few weeks, the search for Parze has expanded to two states.
Stephanie Parze was last observed at 10 p.m. on Oct. 30 at her township residence, according to a Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman. The search then extended to Staten Island, NY.
Her car, cell phone and dog, Jazmine were found at her home by her mother and by investigators and there was no evidence of any type of struggle. Her cell phone contained a text message from a family whose children she was scheduled to watch, wondering if she had forgotten the assignment.
Anyone with information or has seen her since Oct. 30 is encouraged to call Detective Shawn Murphy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032 or call Detective Daniel Valentine of the Freehold Township Police Department at 732-462-7908.