James “Jim” Pitzen and Amy Fry-Pitzen are Timmothy Pitzen’s parents, a boy who has been missing from Aurora, Illinois, since May 2011. On the day he vanished, Timmothy was picked up at school by his mother shortly after he had just been dropped off by his father. Amy proceeded to take her son on a three-day trip that included water and amusement parks. During that time, Amy maintained contact with family members but did not contact her husband.
Three days later, Amy was found dead having committed suicide in a motel room in Rockford, Illinois. In her note, Amy said that Timmothy was safe but that he would never be found. Since his son vanished, Jim Pitzen has moved from the family’s original home in Aurora, Illinois, to Clinton, Iowa.
On April 3, 2019, a teenager was found in Kentucky who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen. He told authorities that he had been kidnapped. A DNA test is pending on the now-14-year-old. That later proved to be untrue with DNA tests revealing his name to be Brian Michael Rini of Medina, Ohio. He is 24 years old. After the hoax was uncovered, Pitzen’s family said in a statement, “Unfortunately, this child is not our beloved TImmothy. We know you are out there, Tim, and we will never stop looking for you and praying for you.”
Amy Fry-Pitzen committed suicide by slitting her wrists and neck inside of a Rockford, Illinois, motel room. Amy was later discovered to have also taken an overdose of amphetamines. At the time her body was discovered, investigators said that they had been chasing down leads in Iowa and Wisconsin in the search Timmothy. Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said at the time that investigators did not believe that Amy had any intention of harming her son. Despite this, Timmothy remained missing.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Timmothy Was Born After Jim Pitzen Overcame Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Jim fathered Timmothy after he successfully battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Jim told People Magazine in 2015 that prior to the birth of his son, he had been anxious over whether or not the chemotherapy he went through had made him sterile.
2. Amy Fry-Pitzen Had Gone Missing for Periods of Time in the Past
In an August 2015 feature on CNN, James “Jim” Pitzen said that Amy had told him early in their relationship that she had struggled with depression. Jim said that in 2003, he got a call saying that his wife had been sitting on the edge of a cliff while taken some pills. Jim said that Amy subsequently fell asleep and rolled off the cliff. A few months before Timmothy vanished, Amy had taken two unexplained trips into the Illinois countryside. Investigators believed this was evidence that Amy had been planning the abduction of her son for months. In addition, authorities discovered that Amy had an alternate email address using her maiden name that her husband did not know about.
After the birth of their son in 2004, the couple began to fight over various things including money and Amy booking a cruise with a friend for her birthday without telling Jim. Jim told CNN that his wife’s biggest fear was that the state would take away her son over her mental issues.
Despite her actions, Amy is buried under a headstone that reads, “Loving Mother.” Jim told People Magazine that he needed a lot of therapy in order to understand his wife’s illness and to forgive her.
3. Amy Fry-Pitzen Had Been Married Three Times Before Meeting Jim
Amy Fry-Pitzen was a graduate of Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Illinois, and Iowa State University. That’s according to her first husband, Michael Natonski, who was speaking to the Chicago Tribune around the time of her suicide. Natonski said that he divorced Amy in 1991. In total, Amy was divorced three times prior to meeting Jim.
4. Jim Pitzen Has Long Maintained That His Son Was Alive
In the People Magazine feature from October 2015, Jim said that he maintained the belief that his son was alive and with someone else. Jim said, “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?”
Jim’s mother, Linda, also felt that her grandson was still alive. Linda told the Chicago Tribune in 2016, “I feel it’s not long. when he will be showing up.”
5. Amy Gave Her Son the Extra ‘M’ Because She Wanted His Name to Stand Out
Amy’s mother, Alana Anderson, told CNN in 2015 that her son daughter gave Timmothy the extra “M” because she wanted his name to be “a little different from Timothy.” Alana added, “She just adored that little boy, and he just adored her.” That same year, Alana told People Magazine, “You don’t leave your children. You don’t give your children away. I had some trouble forgiving her for what she did to herself. I don’t think I can ever forgive her for what she did to her child.” That article made it clear that Amy’s extended family were as affected by Timmothy’s disappearance as Jim was.
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