What Happened to Social Media Influencer Stephanie Parze On Halloween Eve 2019? It 'Was a Horror,' Says Dad (2024)

Shortly before special effects makeup artist and budding social media influencer Stephanie Parze went missing on Halloween Eve 2019, she told her family she felt spooked in the New Jersey home where she was living.

In early October, 2019, “Stephanie called my mom in a panic, saying that the house was haunted or possessed,” says Stephanie’s sister, Brianna Parze.

Stephanie, 25, of Freehold, called to say she saw a spindly handprint on the bathroom mirror “that looked like somebody put their hand on it and dragged their fingers down, like somebody was seeing a horror movie,” says Stephanie's father, Ed Parze.

A few days later, Stephanie found her parakeet dead on the bottom of its cage, “cold as stone,” says Brianna.

A month later, Stephanie vanished.

What Happened to Social Media Influencer Stephanie Parze On Halloween Eve 2019? It 'Was a Horror,' Says Dad (1)

Brianna and Ed's accounts of what scared Stephanie so much -- and the terrifying series of events that followed are the focus of the next episode of ID’s new series, Deadly Influence: The Social Media Murders. (An exclusive clip of the episode, titled "Hashtag Horror," is shown below.)

Airing Monday, July 1, at 9/8c on ID (and streaming on Max), the new episode, Hashtag Halloween Horror, features Brianna, Ed, and others detailing what happened before and after the upbeat, outgoing New Jersey native her family and friends called "a firecracker" went missing on the night of Oct. 30, 2019.

What Happened to Social Media Influencer Stephanie Parze On Halloween Eve 2019? It 'Was a Horror,' Says Dad (2)

Stephanie's disappearance "was a horror,” Stephanie’s father, Ed Parze, tells PEOPLE. “It was like going from zero to 100 in a split second. One minute you're talking to her, the next minute she's gone and you can't find them and you start going crazy. Your mind starts working and it's horrifying because it keeps gnawing away at you."

On Oct. 30, 2019, the night Stephanie went missing, she had gone to see a medium with her mother and sisters.

N.J. Woman, 25, Goes Missing After Visiting Medium With Family: 'We Just Want to Find Her'

Her family knew something was horribly wrong when Stephanie failed to show up for her job as a nanny the next morning.

Her family and friends wanted to know: Did the handprint on the mirror and the dead bird have anything to do with her disappearance?

What did her ex-boyfriend, who she met online, have to say about where she was? What was his history? Was she still alive?

"The family was going through hell," Ed tells PEOPLE.

From that moment on, Stephanie’s parents, sisters, extended family, friends and members of the community searched for her.

What Happened to Social Media Influencer Stephanie Parze On Halloween Eve 2019? It 'Was a Horror,' Says Dad (3)

“We kept focusing on she's somewhere out there and we're going to find her,” he says. “We just kept pushing everybody, pushing the police and getting any information we could out there. Whatever I was doing seemed to be getting the support of the public. It was amazing how many people came out for this, it was unbelievable.”

Tragically, 87 days after Stephanie went missing, her body was found in January 2020 off of a highway in Old Bridge.

Body of Missing N.J. Woman Found 2 Months After Ex — Who Was 'Person of Interest' — Killed Himself

This is the fifth episode in ID's new docuseries about the perils of the internet and life as an influencer.

“Social Media Influencers seem to have it all – money, celebrity, power,” ID says on its website about the new six-part series. “But in these shocking true crime stories, there is a horrifying dark side to the fame, which reveals how these online dreams can quickly become blood-soaked nightmares.”

Ed says he hopes the episode lets viewers know just how dangerous the internet can be.

“The internet to me is a double-edged sword,” he says. “It's partly what found my daughter and it's probably what killed my daughter.”

As a result of her death, the family started The Stephanie Nicole Parze Foundation for domestic violence and missing persons support.

They are also pushing for new legislation in New Jersey, Stephanie's Law, which would create a registry of domestic violence offenders that is open to the public.

Ed desperately misses his daughter, but says he is glad her legacy is helping others.

“My main goal is that people remember her,” says Ed. “If they remember her in a light of where she's helping other people, then I'm happy.”

"Hashtag Horror," the new episode of ID’s Deadly Influencer: The Social Media Murders, premieres Monday, July 1 at 9/8c on ID & Streaming on Max.

What Happened to Social Media Influencer Stephanie Parze On Halloween Eve 2019? It 'Was a Horror,' Says Dad (2024)

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