Timmothy Pitzen, who was just six years old when he was last seen with his mother on surveillance footage, has been missing since 2011. In early April, an Ohio man – now known to be Brian Michael Rini – crafted an elaborate story to convince the police that he was actually the boy… but the FBI did a DNA test and discovered the man was lying.
Timmothy Pitzen’s mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, picked him up from kindergarten on May 11, 2011 without telling her husband, Timmothy’s father Jim Pitzen. Jim wasn’t aware that they were missing until he went to pick up Timmothy from school, and he filed a missing persons report the next morning.
Timmothy and his mother went on a “road trip,” stopping at a Kalahari water park and buying toys for two or three days. Surveillance footage from multiple locations shows a happy mother and son – but then authorities found Fry-Pitzen’s body in a hotel room in Rockford, Illinois, where she had apparently committed suicide.
Her note said, “You’ll never find him.”
The note also said that Timmothy was safe but offered no details on where he was.
According to friends and family members, Fry-Pitzen battled depression during her adult life. She wanted to divorce Jim, but was afraid that the court would take her son away from her due to her mental health issues.
The case appeared on CNN’s “The Hunt With John Walsh.”
Fast-forward to April 4, 2019.
In Newport, Kentucky, a woman called the police after a boy approached her car and asked for help. He told her he’d been running for two hours and said he was Timmothy Pitzen, fleeing two men who had been keeping him captive for more than seven years. He told the woman he’d been held most recently at a local Red Roof Inn across the border in Ohio.
He kept up his story when police picked him up, even going so far as to identify his “kidnappers” as two men with very distinctive tattoos. He said his captors drove a Ford SUV with Wisconsin plates.
But then the FBI conducted a DNA test and discovered his true identity. He’s 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini – not a 14-year-old boy, as Timmothy is. Rini has a string of criminal convictions in his past, including burglary, vandalism and “making false alarms involving a law enforcement agency.”
Aurora police are still searching for Timmothy, who disappeared nearly eight years ago.
“Although we are disappointed that this turned out to be a hoax, we remain diligent in our search for Timmothy, as our missing person’s case remains unsolved,” Sgt. Bill Rowley, a spokesman for Aurora police, said in a statement.
Anyone who has information on Timmothy should call the Aurora police at 630-256-5000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678.
What Do You Think?
Have you been keeping up with this case, or did you see it on “The Hunt”? What do you think motivated Rini to pose as Timmothy Pitzen? I’d love to hear your take on this, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.