Person claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen identified as 23-year-old - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Person claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen identified as 23-year-old man

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UPDATE 4/4/19 AT 5:50 P.M.

WSIL -- Based on D-N-A results, authorities have determined that a boy found in Kentucky is not Timmothy Pitzen, a child from a Chicago suburb who went missing nearly eight years ago. 

The person who was claiming to be Pitzen, who was previously believed to be 14 years old, has been identified as a 23-year-old man named Brian Michael Rini, according to Thomas Collins, chief of police in Newport, Kentucky. 

Aurora police headed to the Cincinnati area Wednesday to assist the FBI with a possible break in the case after a young man told authorities that he was Pitzen, who went missing in 2011 when he was 6 years old, and "had just escaped from two kidnappers that have been holding him for 7 years." 

Authorities tested the person's DNA. Results returned Thursday indicated that the boy is not Pitzen, according to the FBI's office in Louisville. 

"To be clear, law enforcement has not and will not forget Timmothy, and we hope to one day reunite him with his family. Unfortunately, that day will not be today," the statement read in part. 

Timmothy Pitzen's grandmother and aunt said they were heartbroken to learn that Timmothy had not been found. 

Residents in a Newport, Kentucky, neighborhood -- just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati -- called police after Rini was found wandering the streets. He approached a woman in a vehicle asking for help. 

A woman who stood with Rini until police showed up said he looked confused and rattled. 

"He looked like he had been beat up, punched in the face a couple of times," one of the residents said. "You could see the fear on him and how nervous he was and how he kept pacing. He just looked odd." 

Rini was then taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for evaluation. 

It is not yet clear why he identified himself as Timmothy Pitzen. 

Rini is from Medina, Ohio, which is about 200 miles from Newport. Ohio criminal records show that Rini has previously been convicted five times for falsification, criminal trespass, theft and making false alarms. 

Authorities have not indicated whether Rini will face any charges for identifying himself as Pitzen. 

Timmothy was last seen at Wisconsin Dells with his mother. Aurora police said they have received hundreds of tips in the nearly eight years since he went missing. 

ORIGINAL STORY 4/3/19 AT 6:34 P.M.

NEWPORT, Ky. -- A 14-year-old boy who said he escaped from two kidnappers in Ohio told authorities he is from Illinois, where he went missing nearly eight years ago when his mother apparently took her own life. 

Police in the Chicago suburb of Aurora said Wednesday afternoon that the department is sending two detectives to the Cincinnati area. Aurora police don't know who the boy in Ohio is or if he has any connection to Timmothy Pitzen, Aurora Police Sgt. Bill Rowley said. Timmothy Pitzen went missing from Aurora in 2011 when he was 6 years old.

Wednesday morning, a 14-year-old boy told authorities that he was Timmothy and that he "had just escaped from two kidnappers that have been holding him for 7 years," according to an incident report from the Sharonville Police Department in Ohio. 

FBI agents from Louisville and Cincinnati said they are coordinating with the Newport Police Department, Cincinnati Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the Aurora Police Department on a missing child investigation. The ABC affiliate in Cincinnati (WCPO) reported that a boy was discovered Wednesday morning at a Red Roof Inn in Newport, Kentucky. 

The FBI and police are working to verify whether the boy is Timmothy. He was last seen at Wisconsin Dells with his mother. Two detectives from Aurora are heading to Ohio to assist in the investigation. One of the detectives is a cold case investigator. 


Timmothy said his kidnappers were two white men with a "body-builder type build" and tattoos, according to the Sharonville police incident report. He said he escaped and kept running across a bridge in Kentucky. They had been staying at a Red Roof Inn, but he said he did not know where. 

The report says that the men were driving a "newer model Ford SUV, bearing unknown Wisconsin plates, with a 2nd row, white in color with yellow transfer paint, and a dent on the left back bumper." 

Timmothy's grandmother says she is "cautiously optimistic." She says she has heard reports that the boy has identified himself as Timmothy but they're not official reports. 

She had a message for her grandson, "We never stopped looking for him, thinking about him and we love him and we'll do everything we can to get him back to a good life." 

She also said they haven't gotten much information from the authorities, "We just know a 14-year-old boy was found and went to the police. We don't want to get our hopes up and our family's hopes up until we know something. We just don't want to get our hopes up. We've had false reports and false hopes before."

Surveillance video from 2011 shows Timmothy's mother, 43-year-old Amy Fry Pitzen, picked him up from Greenman Elementary School in Aurora on May 11. Police said Pitzen took her son to Brookfield Zoo and to Key Lime Cove in Gurnee. On May 12, they checked into the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. Timmothy and his mom were last seen together on the morning of May 13, checking out of the resort. 

Police said Pitzen then checked herself into a motel in Rockford, Illinois, that night and apparently killed herself. Police said Pitzen left a suicide note that said, "Tim is somewhere safe with people who love him and will care for him. You will never find him." Police investigating her death said she took steps that suggest she might have, as she said in her note, dropped her son off with a friend.

At the time, police searched for the boy in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

In August 2011, police disclosed they found a "concerning" amount of blood in the back seat of Pitzen's SUV after her death. Tests showed the blood was Timmothy's. Authorities also released a video clip of 6-year-old Timmothy playing a make-believe guitar, hoping that the boy's disappearance would remain in the public eye. 

In 2013, Pitzen's cellphone was recovered from a roadside ditch near Rockford. Police said there was no useful information on the phone. 

In 2015, the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children released an age progression of what Timmothy would look like at 10 years old. A woman in Rockton, Illinois, thought she saw a boy resembling the image, but it wasn't him. 


The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.
 

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