Brian Michael Rini has been identified as the 23-year-old man who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen on April 3. On April 4, the FBI confirmed that his DNA did not match with that of Pitzen, who disappeared in 2011 and hasn’t been seen since.
Rini’s motives are currently unclear. However, police in the area of Newport, Kentucky (where Rini was first “found”) have confirmed that they are looking into his claim of being kidnapped, while also acknowledging that he has given false statements in the past 24 hours, including that he claimed to be 14 years old. Following the confirmation of Rini’s identity, FBI Louisville released the following statement, in the form of a pair of tweets,
A local investigation continues into this person’s true identity. 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.
APD continues to lead the investigation into the Timmothy’s disappearance. The FBI will support this investigation in any way possible. Anyone with genuine information about the case is asked to call the APD at 630-256-5000 or the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Of Timmothy Pitzen’s parents, his father, Jim Pitzen, is still alive; his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, was the last person seen with Timmothy. Jim Pitzen has not made a statement following the shocking news, but some members of Timmothy Pitzen’s family have acknowledged it (see fact 4).
Rini was released from prison on March 7, 2019. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rini Has Been Arrested Four Times Before, Most Recently in 2018
In 2018, Rini was arrested and charged with falsification. The bizarre report from Norton Police Department reads,
A 22-year-old man called for help Nov. 29 using the vehicle’s OnStar system but was vague in the details. Police arrived at a Wadsworth Road parking lot and got a vague report from the man about some acquaintances he’d picked up who started fighting in the car. He didn’t produce a driver’s license but gave a name and Social Security number. The car itself belonged to a car dealership and was allegedly on an overnight test drive. However, the actual owner of the name and Social Security number used called police dismayed at receiving a citation in the mail, suspecting his brother had used his identity in the incident. The brother, Brian Michael Rini, was in the Medina County Jail at the time and was charged with falsification as well as the original traffic citation.
Rini was also arrested twice in Medina, Ohio 2015, once for making false alarms involving a law enforcement agency, according to a local Ohio newspaper. Additionally, he was convicted for passing bad checks in 2015. He pleaded guilty for one count of passing bad checks, which is a fifth-degree felony.
Here’s another older mugshot of Rini:
Lastly, Rini was arrested in 2017 along with three other men for hosting a party and allegedly causing $1,250 of damage to a former model home in Medina, Ohio, according to The Medina Gazette.
According to the publication, Rini and the three other men trespassed in an unoccupied home, which had been used previously as a model home. The home was listed for sale at the time that they allegedly used it. What’s more, the police report said that Rini had pretended to be a potential buyer and had visited the model home with a real estate agent, and had even introduced himself to neighbors saying he had purchased the home and would be holding a party in it, per the Medina Gazette.
Rini was sentenced to 18 months in prison in January 2018 in connection to the house party case, with credit for 132 days already served. He was ordered to submit his DNA after that conviction, which would have put it into the FBI’s national database.
Court records obtained by Heavy show that his criminal cases in Medina were delayed in 2017 and 2018 while he was receiving psychiatric care. Rini was for a time hospitalized at the Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine in Willoughby, Ohio, court records show.
2. Rini’s Twitter Account Is Private; His Bio Says He Is ‘Very Good With Computers’
The above photo is used in Rini’s Twitter account. Though his account is private, his Twitter bio reads, “I love Animals Plus I’m Very Good With Computers.”
According to Rini’s Facebook, he attended Medina High School in Medina, Ohio.
3. Rini Made Multiple Statements to Police That Were Intimately Connected to Timmothy Pitzen; It’s Unclear How He Knew the Answers
According to Inside Edition, Rini answered a number of questions about Timmothy Pitzen’s identity correctly before the FBI ultimately confirmed he was not a match. For example, he gave the accurate date of his birth, and he knew Pitzen’s middle name. To Inside Edition, Pitzen’s aunt said he answered questions that only Pitzen would know.
She said, “We always felt very strongly that Tim was alive. Regardless of what anybody said. I knew he was alive. Where he was or who he was with was just too difficult to imagine.”
On April 3, Rini said that he had ran across a bridge from the Cincinnati, Ohio area into Newport, Kentucky. Per The Washington Post, he had bruises and scratches on his face, and he told a person that he had been held against his will for seven years, and that he had escaped his two captors while they were staying at a Red Roof Inn.
Following the news that Rini had lied about at least part of his narrative, if not all, Pitzen’s aunt, Jen West, gave a telephone interview to The Washington Post, saying,
“It’s a downer. But the positive aspect of it is that Tim’s face is now on every news station and every newspaper. It’s a blessing in that respect, that the more coverage he gets, the better. If it couldn’t be him, at least his face gets out there and his name is out there, so more people saw him.”
4. Timmothy Pitzen Was Last Seen on May 13, 2011; His Mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen Was the Last One Seen With Him
Per BuzzFeed News, Amy Fry-Pitzen, Pitzen’s mother, checked Timmothy out of his school in Aurora, Illinois on May 11, 2011, and drove 600 miles over the next two days, ping ponging through multiple states with him without telling her husband, Jim Pitzen. Jim eventually reported both of them missing. Pitzen was six years old at the time.
Three days after she checked her son out of school, Amy killed herself in a motel in Rockland, Illinois, leaving a suicide note that said, in part, that her son was safe but he would never be found. Pitzen was last seen at a waterpark in Wisconsin, on surveillance footage, but he was not seen with his mother when she checked into the Rockland motel.
To NBC News on Wednesday, April 3, following the announcement that a boy claimed to be Timmothy (prior to the announcement that the man was actually Rini), Timmothy’s grandmother Alana Anderson, shed further light on the suicide note.
She said, “His mother left me a letter and she said that he would be with people who would love him and take care of him. She felt that her life had come to an end and she was going to end her life and she didn’t want to leave him without good parenting.”
West added that her brother Jim had been through situations like this before, and knew not to get his hopes up too much when a situation like this happened. She added, “[He] has been through this a lot with sightings and things, so he really knew to keep his emotions down and not get his hopes up. He’s been through it a few times.”
5. Jim Pritzen, Timmothy’s Father, Maintained Hope Throughout the Years After His Son Vanished
Jim Pitzen has not made a public statement amid all of the drama and controversy over his son being “found,” as well as the subsequent news that Rini appeared to be impersonating his son.
Following Pitzen’s disappearance in 2011, Jim moved out of his family home in Aurora to the town of Clinton, Iowa. Over the years, he and other family members were outspoken in their hope that Timmothy would one day come home.
In a 2015 interview with People , Jim said that he often tells himself, “Maybe I’ll see Tim in the morning. Maybe tomorrow they’ll find him.”
He continued in the interview,
“I always wonder what she told Timmothy, Why hasn’t he tried to call? We taught him how to dial 911. ‘This is your number, this is your mom’s number, you know where you live, your address,’ all the stuff you do. We got one of those little IDenticards for kids, with his fingerprint and his name and a picture of him, so if he got lost somewhere you could find him.”
Jim added, “He’s not with his mom. He’s not with his dad. Who are these people he’s with? And how do they know him?”