3 high-profile missing persons cases frustrate NJ searchers
As many as 16,000 people are reported missing in New Jersey every year.
And every year nearly all of those people are found.
This year, three unsolved missing persons cases — each with bizarre and disturbing circumstances — have captured the most attention, frustrating law enforcement, the public and the loved ones of the two women and the little girl who disappeared.
Here's a brief look at the cases and where they stand less than a month before the new year.
Dulce Maria Alavez
The 5-year-old went missing Sept. 16 when she seemingly vanished from Bridgeton City Park as she played with her 3-year-old brother. Dulce was last seen walking toward a red van with a man at Bridgeton City Park, police have said a young witness told them.
No significant evidence has been developed to indicate where Dulce may be but the case remains under investigation by local authorities and the FBI, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said this week.
Representatives from her office went door to door on Monday handing out fliers in hopes of determining the circumstances that led to Dulce's disappearance.
The reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible is up to $75,000 thanks to a donation by TV's Dr. Phil, who did an hour-long show this month about Dulce's disappearance.
Jackie Rodriguez, who has acted as a family spokeswoman, said she thinks people are getting "more negative" as time passes.
"They're feeling helpless and empty without her. The holidays are not going to be the same," Rodriguez said.
Stephanie Parze, 25, of Freehold Township, vanished on Oct. 30 after a night out with loved ones. Her personal belongings like her purse, phone and shoes were found at her home.
Her family is holding out for a miracle this Christmas, which in previous years was the family's favorite time of year.
"We're not exchanging presents this year. We usually have the house all decorated for Christmas," her father, Edward Parze, said.
The family has been hosting searches every weekend in Freehold and on Staten Island where her ex-boyfriend John Ozbilgen grew up before moving to his family's home in Freehold.
Ozbilgen was a person of interest in the case but was never charged. He took his own life at his home several days after spending time behind bars following an arrest on a charge of child pornography, which investigators said they found after confiscating his phone as part of their search for Parze.
The Pazre family will hold a bowl-a-thon to raise funds for their searches on Saturday afternoon at the Howell Lanes. In the morning, volunteers are invited to be part of an aerial photoshoot at the Freehold Township High School football field. Another search is scheduled for Sunday on Staten Island.
Investigators are still looking for the body of Jaqueline Terrulli, 65, who went missing on Sept. 12 after her Ocean Township home caught fire.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Ronald Teschner attempted to steal from his sometime-girlfriend and when she caught him in the act, he killed her and later used nail polish remover to set her house ablaze.
Teschner has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 13 in Paterson, where he was found inside Terrulli's Jeep Cherokee. The vehicle was filled with various items that belonged to the victim, including two shotguns, Gramiccioni said.
The 49-year-old was initially charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon, two counts of certain persons not to possess weapons, and three counts of receiving stolen property.
The break in the case happened when an acquaintance revealed Teschner's confession, officials said.
This month Teschner was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, second-degree disturbing human remains, first-degree robbery, second-degree aggravated arson and three counts of theft.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ