Family of missing woman won’t put up Christmas lights until she is found

It has been nearly three weeks since 25-year-old Stephanie Parze of Freehold went missing, and her family says that they will wait until she is found to decorate for the holidays.

News 12 Staff

Nov 19, 2019, 3:01 AM

Updated 1,608 days ago

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It has been nearly three weeks since 25-year-old Stephanie Parze of Freehold went missing, and her family says that they will wait until she is found to decorate for the holidays.
Parze went missing on Oct. 30 after leaving a family gathering and has not been seen since. Her father, Ed Parze says that this is the time that he would normally be decorating the family’s home for Christmas, but the house stands bare.
“The Parze home is not supposed to look like this,” he says.
The Parze family Christmas display is not just any family display. People typically come from across New Jersey to get a look at it. The display typically features nearly 40,000 lights. Ed says that it has been a family tradition for 36 years.
"When my kids were really young, especially my Stephanie, when she was young I used to go to the extreme, where I would go on the roof, put reindeer food down and make footprints,” he says. “We went crazy with that. Christmas was a big holiday for us.”
But instead of a Christmas display, a sign now sits in front of the Parze home – a sign that reads, “Stephanie Come Home” along with the Freehold Police Department phone number – 732-462-7500. It is front-and-center along a busy road right off a highway, in a town of around 35,000 people.
"I know all the people that are going to go by the house and they're gonna be like, ‘What happened?’ Well not that they might not know but there are people that won't know,” Ed says.
Parze’s disappearance made national headlines. The last communication her family had with her was a Snapchat video she posted while driving home.
Parze’s boyfriend, John Ozbilgen, is currently in jail on child pornography charges. Police say that he has been questioned about her disappearance, but is not facing any charges in connection with that situation.
Cellphone records seemed to indicate that Ozbilgen was in a Staten Island Park on the night Parze went missing, prompting a large-scale search by law enforcement in the park.
Ed Parze says that he is holding on to hope and trying to stay positive – hoping his sign might help.
"You know, it’s not about the lights. It’s all about her right now so you know just want to get her home,” he says. “That’s it, that the goal.”
Ozbilgen has been ordered to remain in jail until his next court hearing.


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