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Stranger Meets Woman at Gas Station and Kidnaps Her - After Nearly a Year, Her Quick-Thinking Saves Her Life
Woman’s Bravery at Gas Station Helps Her Escape Her Kidnapper
Uplifting News

Stranger Meets Woman at Gas Station and Kidnaps Her - After Nearly a Year, Her Quick-Thinking Saves Her Life

Kind workers helped this woman end a year-long nightmare.

Last December, an unidentified woman finally escaped a living nightmare thanks to a deadbolt and some kind folks at a New Jersey gas station.

Now, others are spreading the word to prove yet again how the kindness of strangers can help to put things right in this world.

A Living Nightmare

woman wearing shirt and shorts knocking on a door
YouTube/ Inside Edition

Jane Doe met a man named James W. Parrillo Jr. in February 2022 at a gas station in New Mexico, according to CBS News.

In a report, Doe revealed that Parrillo used the name Brett Parker and asked her to drive him to Arizona. She did, and they started a consensual relationship. Once they got to California, though, things changed.

RELATED: How One Victim’s Incredible Act of Bravery Ended a Decade of Horrific Kidnappings

It was there he reportedly physically assaulted her for the first time. Doe wanted to leave, but Parrillo had taken her phone and cards, leaving her unable to contact her family or escape. He kept her by his side as they traveled across the country, and every day she thought of ways to flee.

When the couple landed in New Jersey at the end of the year, the woman finally saw her chance.

A Daring Escape

There was a gas station close to where Parrillo had rented a room for them, and Doe noticed there was a deadbolt on the inside of the door. So one day, when he began beating her, she fled.

“Parrillo began beating and choking her during an argument inside the residence, which they shared with several other individuals,” the attorney general's office said in a release, as per CBS News. “Parrillo allegedly ceased assaulting the woman when he realized the two were not alone in the house, and she ran from the house with nothing on but shorts and a shirt in the 42-degree weather.”

RELATED:After the Capture: Where Is Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart 19 Years After Being Rescued?

Doe ran right to the gas station, locked the door, and told someone working there she had been kidnapped for about a year. Security footage shows Parrillo following her and trying to get in but then fleeing on a bike as workers calmed the woman down and called authorities.

"The lady came running, like barefoot, and she was like, ‘he kidnapped me,'” gas station attendant Jamie Garthaus told an NBC News station. “So, we ran inside and locked the door.”

Parrillo was picked up by police not far from there and charged with kidnapping, strangulation, aggravated assault, and criminal restraint.

A Terrifying History

After Parrillo was arrested, his real background came out. Two other women had previously accused him of kidnapping them for about a year each, but no charges were ever laid. Now, thanks to the kindness of strangers and quick thinking from the woman herself, he can’t hurt anyone else.

RELATED: 9-Year-Old Girl and Her Baby Brother Kidnapped at 7-Eleven – She Follows Her Gut and Saves Her Brother’s Life

“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,” added New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin in a statement.

“We are reaching out to law enforcement across jurisdictions to identify other people who may have additional information on the defendant. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we bring justice to this survivor.”

Coming Together

What this woman went through is unimaginable and awful, yet stories like this do happen. Thankfully, the woman's quick-thinking allowed her to escape, but it was also the kindness of those working at the gas station that helped catch this man in the end. Had they ignored her pleas for help or shrugged off what she told them and opened the door, who knows what might have happened?

Doing nothing or being complacent sometimes makes you a part of the problem, not the solution, and this story is a gentle reminder of that.

So the next time you see someone in need or a situation that doesn’t look right, don’t be afraid to question it, speak out, or follow up to make sure that everything is, indeed, okay.

Jane Doe has the gas station attendants to thank for her successful escape that day, and she won’t soon forget them.

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