MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - A shocking discovery Sunday afternoon may result in a tragic conclusion in the search for Stephanie Parze.

A body was discovered Sunday afternoon in a wooded area off Route 9 in Old Bridge, roughly a half-mile from where the family of missing Freehold woman Stephanie Parze searched for her in late November. 

According to Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Old Bridge Police Chief William Volkert a body was found at about 2:45 p.m. south of Old Mill Road.

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A story at NBCNews reported on law enforcement sources stating they thought it was her.

The area of discovery is wooded and about a half mile from a prior search area late last year.

The loving family of this local missing young woman remains steadfast in their quest to bring her home. Stephanie Parze has been missing since October 30th. 

According to law enforcement officials, Stephanie Parze  was last seen at her residence in Freehold Township around 10 p.m. on October 30, 2019. Suspicion had quickly fallen on an ex-boyfriend.

The man, John Ozbilgen, had been reported to have engaged in a series of harassing text messages to Parze on the night before she disappeared. 

Ozbilgen, 29, of Freehold, was arrested in early November for  possession of child pornography. He was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child – Possession of Child Pornography. If convicted of this third degree crime, Ozbilgen would have faced a sentence of up to five years in a New Jersey state prison.  It will never get that far.

His attorney, Robert Honecker, fought hard to get the judge to allow him to leave jail. The judge, Paul Escandon, decided to release him even though he was found to have multiple images of child pornography with children as young as 3 years old. Now, he's dead.

The report is that he died by suicide by hanging. His body was discovered in his Freehold Township home.

A potential suspect is now dead and the search continues for a young woman by hundreds of people.

Subject to Sunday's discovery of a body, a tragic end may be the result. An autopsy is planned for Monday morning.

Anyone with any information or who has had contact with Ms. Parze is urged to contact Detective Shawn Murphy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160ext. 7032, or Detective Daniel Valentine of the Freehold Township Police at 732-462-7908