A woman escaped kidnapping after a ‘year-long nightmare’ across several states, authorities say. The suspect was arrested in New Jersey and charged with kidnapping


A woman who was kidnapped nearly a year ago while traveling across the country made a dramatic escape from her kidnapper after hatching an escape plan to a New Jersey gas station, authorities said Friday.

James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, was accused of kidnapping a woman he met in New Mexico last year, traveling with her to New Jersey and assaulting her in a Burlington County home where they rented a room, according to a statement from New Jersey. Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

The owner of the gas station, Bobby Madaan, told CNN that the woman ran into his business on February 7, and he heard screaming and yelling from his office. She ran into the shop and locked the door behind her.

Madán said he saw a man running behind the woman but when he couldn’t make it into the locked gas station he turned and left.

“She was shaken up; she was crying,” Madaan said. “She told us she had been kidnapped for about a year.”

Madaan told CNN that the woman had marks on her neck and was wearing shorts and a thin shirt without shoes. He said the woman told him she started making her escape after seeing a dead bolt on the gas station door during a previous visit. He said she planned to escape her kidnapping by running to the gas station and locking herself inside when she had the chance.

Madaan said a customer gave the woman an extra pair of his wife’s shoes, and they found a jacket for her while they waited for the police.

After calming the woman down, Madaan said the two called the police. Parrillo was arrested shortly thereafter on February 7, the attorney general said.

Parrillo and the woman had been staying in the rented room for about two weeks before she escaped after being attacked, according to the statement. The woman ran from the house wearing nothing but trousers and a shirt in 42 degree weather, the attorney general said.

Authorities also claimed Parrillo followed the woman to the gas station and tried to open the door but left when he found it locked.

Authorities said the victim met the suspect, known as “Brett Parker,” at a gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico sometime in February 2022.

At his request, she agreed to give him a ride to Arizona, authorities said. The woman said she had been in a consensual relationship with the man she knew as Parker for about a month when he physically assaulted her while the two were in California, at which point she felt she was not able to leave the relationship.

During their time together, Parrillo allegedly took the woman’s phone, confiscated and used her debit cards, and isolated her from her family, authorities said. The pair arrived in New Jersey sometime in December.

Platkin called it an “extremely disturbing situation.”

“We are contacting law enforcement throughout the jurisdictions to identify others who may have additional information on the defendant. Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure justice is served for this survivor,” said Platkin.

The Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, said, “the strength and bravery of the female victim who managed to escape her attack is not heroic.”

“The allegations of kidnapping and abuse at the hands of the defendant represent a year-long nightmare that the victim has endured in several states across the country finally coming to an end here in New Jersey,” Callahan said.

Parrillo faces charges of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint, Platkin said. Parrillo also faces charges of third-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree hindering and refusal to provide a DNA sample.

Parrillo is being held in the Burlington County Jail pending trial.

CNN reached out to an attorney listed for Parrillo and did not immediately receive a response.

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