The harrowing moment a New Jersey woman escaped her alleged kidnapper was captured on surveillance video at a gas station.
The victim was held captive for a year, Burlington County officials said, before escaping on Feb. 7. James W Parrillo Jr, 57, was charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation, aggravated assault and third-degree criminal restraint.
Surveillance video obtained by NBC Philadelphia showed the woman arriving at the gas station, with a man believed to be Mr. Parrillo close behind. She then runs inside and locks the door as the suspect tries to get in.
The victim told people at the gas station that she had been kidnapped a year earlier. Employees took her to the back of the store while they waited for the police to arrive.
Jamie Garthaus, who works at the station, said he heard screams before the woman ran through the door of the gas station.
“The lady came running in, as if she were barefoot, and said ‘he kidnapped me,'” Garthaus said. “So we run inside and lock the door.”
“I could see fingerprints, like she had strangulation marks around her neck.”
The woman told police she planned the getaway after noticing an internal lock on the door on an earlier visit to the gas station with Parrillo.
They had been staying in a rented room for two weeks. The victim claimed that Mr. Parrillo had suffocated her during an argument the day she escaped.
In the middle of the attack, she said, Mr. Parrillo realized that there were people in the house and stopped attacking her.
She then ran to the store in just a shirt and shorts in the 42 degree weather.
Mr. Parrillo was arrested the same day as the escape by the New Jersey State Police and is now in custody at the Burlington County Jail pending trial.
The woman met Parrillo, who she knew as “Brett Parker”, at a gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico in February 2022.
She reportedly agreed to give him a ride to Arizona and maintained a voluntary relationship with Mr. Parrillo for about a month, before he allegedly became physically abusive while they were in California.
“During their time together, Parrillo allegedly stole the woman’s phone, confiscated and used her debit cards, and isolated her from her family,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement. “The pair reportedly arrived in New Jersey sometime in December.”
Garden State authorities are now investigating whether he engaged in similar predatory behavior after they said they found information on social media.