Cincinnati man’s claim gives false hope in years-long missing boy case

The man had said he had escaped from two men who held him captive for seven years

This undated photo provided by the Aurora, Ill., Police Department shows missing child, Timmothy Pitzen. (Aurora Police Department via AP)

A day of false hope has given way to questions about why a man would claim to be an Illinois boy who disappeared eight years ago.

The FBI declared the man’s story a hoax Thursday one day after he identified himself to authorities as Timmothy Pitzen, who disappeared in 2011 at age 6.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Cincinnati scheduled a Friday news conference on the case. Brian Rini of Medina, Ohio, was jailed in Cincinnati on Thursday. The FBI has identified Rini as the person who claimed to be the Pitzen boy. A Hamilton County sheriff’s spokesman said Friday he is being held for pickup by the FBI.

The 23-year-old man was released from prison on probation less than a month ago after serving more than a year for burglary and vandalism.

The man was found Wednesday wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky. He identified himself to authorities as Timmothy and said he had escaped from two men who held him captive for seven years.

Timmothy’s family had been cautiously hopeful over Wednesday’s news, as were neighbours and others who’d long wondered whether he is dead or alive.

But the FBI said DNA testing proved his story false, dashing hopes that the baffling disappearance of Timmothy had finally been solved.

Authorities did not say whether Rini would face charges over the alleged hoax or what his motive was.

“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,” FBI spokesman Timothy Beam said in a statement Thursday.

Timmothy vanished after his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, pulled him out of kindergarten early one day, took him on a two-day road trip to the zoo and a water park, and then killed herself at a hotel. She left a note saying that her son was safe with people who would love and care for him, and added: “You will never find him.”

READ MORE: Police confirm teen is not a Cincinnati boy missing since 2011

In Timmothy’s hometown of Aurora, Illinois, police Sgt. Bill Rowley said that over the years his department has received thousands of tips about Timmothy, including false sightings.

“We’re always worried about copycats, especially something that has a big national attention like this,” he said.

Timmothy’s family members said they were heartbroken at the latest twist.

“It’s devastating. It’s like reliving that day all over again, and Timmothy’s father is devastated once again,” said his aunt Kara Jacobs.

The boy’s grandmother Alana Anderson said: “It’s been awful. We’ve been on tenterhooks, hopeful and frightened. It’s just been exhausting.” She added, “I feel so sorry for the young man who’s obviously had a horrible time and felt the need to say he was somebody else.”

___

Babwin reported from Chicago. Associated Press reporters Carrie Antlfinger in Aurora, Caryn Rousseau in Chicago and Corey Williams in Detroit contributed.

___

Dan Sewell And Don Babwin, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Golden Food Bank looks for community support heading into summer

The food bank will be looking to keep momentum going from a succesful holiday season

Kicking Horse conditions update, Friday February 21

Kicking Horse reports no new snow in the last 24 hours. The… Continue reading

Golden Highway Update, Friday February 21

Watch for slippery sections between Quartz Creek Bridge and the western boundary… Continue reading

Moberly based Northern Silica to close doors

The layoffs come just a month after a temporary layoff over the holidays in December

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read