NJ makeup artist was warned by her father about ex-boyfriend before she was murdered: Report

Just before special effects artist and burgeoning social media influencer Stephanie Parze went missing on the day before Halloween in 2019, she reportedly told her family that she was spooked about living in her New Jersey home, according to People Magazine.

Stephanie’s sister, Brianna Parze, said her sibling called “my mom in a panic” in October 2019, “saying that the house was haunted or possessed.”

Twenty-five-year-old Stephanie called her family to say that she had spotted a strange handprint on her bathroom mirror “that looked like somebody put their hand on it and dragged their fingers down, like somebody was seeing a horror movie,” according to Stephanie’s father, Ed Parze.

A few days after she told her family about this strange development, her pet parakeet was found dead at the bottom of its cage. And just a month after this incident, Stephanie mysteriously vanished.

‘She always called and texted whenever she got home. But when 25 minutes went by, and we didn’t hear anything, we immediately knew something was wrong.’

Despite Stephanie alluding to something mysterious and perhaps supernatural happening in her home, Ed immediately thought his daughter’s ex-boyfriend might have something to do with her disappearance, according to Fox News Digital.

“I didn’t like this person from the day I met him,” Ed shared with Fox News. “There wasn’t ever any eye contact with this guy. He was in and out. I even said to my daughter, ‘I’m not liking this. You’ve got to be careful with him.’ He was strange. I had a gut feeling from day one. … I just said, ‘It’s him.’”

The disappearance of the New Jersey makeup artist is being explored in Investigation Discovery’s true-crime series, “Deadly Influence.” The show specifically delves into the dark side of social media, and how online communities can suddenly turn dark and sometimes deadly.

Ed said he is “speaking out because we need to get the awareness out so that this doesn’t happen to anybody else. It also keeps Stephanie alive.” He went on to describe his daughter as a 4-foot-11 firebrand who had a deep passion for artistry. Consequently, she quickly amassed a substantial following on social media.

“I didn’t realize that she had an influence on social media like she did until after the incident,” Ed conceded. “I knew she was doing things on social media and putting some art out there. She would always send me stuff, and I thought it was amazing. But I didn’t realize how fast it took for her to build a following.”

Stephanie eventually turned to an online dating site where she met John Ozbilgen, a stockbroker from New Jersey. The two initially interacted on social media before ultimately meeting in person. However, Ed said the development was quick and he did not feel right about Ozbilgen.

Later on, Stephanie accused Ozbilgen of assault, and she wanted to put an end to the relationship. While Ed said he tried to warn his daughter about Ozbilgen, she insisted that her father should give the 29-year-old stockbroker a chance.

“What do you say to that? You have my 25-year-old independent, strong daughter. She knows what she’s doing,” Ed said. “You would hope that you’re proven wrong. But I still had that gut feeling. And then my gut feeling was right.”

Stephanie was last seen on October 30, 2019. She departed her parents’ home after spending a night out with relatives. She drove to her late grandmother’s nearby home but failed to show up for a nanny job the following day. Her phone and car were discovered at the house, but there was no sign of a break-in.

“Stephanie only lived about six minutes from here,” Ed said. “She always called and texted whenever she got home. But when 25 minutes went by, and we didn’t hear anything, we immediately knew something was wrong.”

Though family members tried to get in touch with her, Stephanie did not reply to any of the messages. As a result, the Parze family organized a search party to help find Stephanie.

“I used to go on Facebook every night and just start putting posts out there,” said Ed. “More and more people came forward wanting to help. It pulled at my heartstrings. … I didn’t realize how far these posts had reached out to people. … Many people just recognized Stephanie from her face and being online all the time.”

Investigators quickly identified Ozbilgen as a person of interest. He had reportedly sent Stephanie 10 angry unanswered messages the night before she went missing.

On November 8, 2019, Ozbilgen was arrested and charged with child pornography. Images were found on his phone while authorities were investigating Stephanie’s disappearance. He remained in custody until November 19, when he was ultimately released.

Just three days after he was released, Ozbilgen committed suicide. Though he was never charged in Stephanie’s disappearance, he reportedly left behind a note that indicated he was responsible for killing her.

Stephanie’s remains were later found in Old Bridge by two teenagers.

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