James Parrillo Jr, who was arrested after a woman ran into a petrol station in New Jersey claiming she had been kidnapped (Picture: New Jersey State Police)
A woman in New Jersey escaped to a petrol station after being held against her will by a man for almost a year, authorities in the US state have said.
The officials said the woman ran into the store on February 7, telling people she had been kidnapped.
She later told police the man, James Parrillo Jr, had assaulted her and taken her credit and debit cards after they met in New Mexico the previous February.
Parrillo, 57, was arrested the same day the woman entered the petrol station, and has since been charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint.
Security footage from the store shows a woman running and stumbling through the door, closely followed by a bald man in a blue shirt.
Attendant Jamie Garthaus told NBC News: ‘The lady came running, like barefoot, and she was like, “He kidnapped me.”‘
‘So, we ran inside and locked the door.’
Officials said the woman had seen the deadbolt lock on the shop’s door during a previous visit, and planned to make use of it when she got a chance.
According to a New Jersey State Police statement filed in court, the woman – who has not been publicly identified – had marks on her neck.
Police said she told them she initially met Parrillo at another petrol station in New Mexico, where he asked for a lift to neighbouring Arizona.
The pair were in a relationship at first, but she felt unable to leave when he assaulted her a month later and cut her off from her family, the New Jersey attorney general’s office said.
They travelled across the country from California before moving to Burlington County in the east coast state, officials said, and the woman fled after allegedly being choked and assaulted.
The state attorney general, Matthew Platkin, said: ‘This is a deeply disturbing case in which the defendant allegedly held a woman against her will for nearly a year, while traveling with her throughout the country, before ending up here in New Jersey where she was able to escape.’
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