Teens who found Stephanie Parze’s body glad to bring family closure
OLD BRIDGE — The "angels" that Edward Parze said discovered his daughter's body told a news publication they are glad to have brought closure to the family.
The search for Stephanie Parze, who went missing on Oct. 30, came to a conclusion early Monday when the Middlesex County Medical Examiner identified remains found along Route 9 as those of the 25-year-old.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Monday that ex-boyfriend John Ozbilgen, who killed himself before he was ever charged in connection with her disappearance, was the only person responsible for her death.
The news that Ozbilgen was more than just a "person of interest" and that he had left a suicide note admitting his role in Parze's death came less than a day after her body was found in a wooded area along Route 9 in Old Bridge. Investigators have not yet made any statement as to how how Parze was killed.
Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet said Parze's body was found by two teens, age 17 and 18, walking along Route 9 near the Grand Marquis wedding venue on Sunday afternoon. The teens revealed themselves as Jeremy Carlos Perez and Eric Rodriguez, both from Perth Amboy, in interviews with the Asbury Park Press and NJ.com.
A family friend who identified Perez in a Facebook post has not yet returned a message to New Jersey 101.5.
Perez and Rodriquez told NJ.com they work at the Grand Marquis and parked their cars in another lot. They said they were walking to the venue when they spotted what they thought was a mannequin behind a guard rail.
They told the Asbury Park Press the body was face-down and fully clothed just far enough off the road that it wouldn't be noticed by those driving.
Perez and Rodriquez said they are happy to help provide closure for her family.
Edward Parze, who has dubbed friends and family who conducted searches for signs of his daughter's whereabouts "Stephanie's Angels," added the teens to the group's ranks at a press conference at the office of the Monmouth County Prosecutor announcing the discovery of her body.
"Two angels found her, if you think about it. Why were they there? Two angels were put there for a purpose,” Parze said.
Stephanie Parze's viewing will be Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Rose of Lima Chapel on Freehold and her funeral will be 10 a.m. Friday at St. Rose of Lima Church on McLean Street.
According to her obituary, she loved children, worked as a nanny and had a talent for special effects makeup.
"She always put everyone else first," reads the obituary.
The Parze family asked for donations in lieu of flowers to 180 Turning Lives Around Inc., 1 Bethany Road, Bldg. 3, Suite 42, Hazlet, NJ 07730.
Turning Lives is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Monmouth County, according to its website. Edward Parze said he wants to establish a Stephanie Parze Foundation to bring awareness to battered women and missing people.
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