A DNA test has indicated that the “teenager” recovered in Newport, Kentucky on April 3 is not Timmothy Pitzen, according to the FBI’s Louisville office.
The FBI shared on social media, “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.”
Detectives from Aurora, Illinois, Pitzen’s hometown, had been dispatched to the area to help identify the recovered person.
But the recovered person turned out not to be a teenager at all. According to the Newport Police Department, cited by FOX Illinois, the man was identified as Brian Michael Rini, a 24-year-old man from Medina in northern Ohio. He had told responding officers that he was 14, according to a police report embedded below. Officials have not yet stated whether Rini was actually the victim of some sort of crime or whether it was all a big ruse.
Timmothy Pitzen’s aunt, Kara Jacobs, spoke out minutes after the FBI revealed the DNA results. She said she was “reserving judgment” and “praying for the young man involved.” She said that Timmothy’s father is “devastated once again.” Timmothy’s grandmother added that she felt “sorry” for the “young man” who felt the need to claim that he was Timmothy.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Man Who Claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen Was Spotted Wandering Around a Neighborhood in Newport, Kentucky on April 3
The man who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen was spotted near the intersection of West 8th and Columbia Street in Newport, Kentucky. The area is located across the Ohio River from Cincinnati and a school building is in that area, according to Google Maps. In the image below, the pin is marked at the intersection where Pitzen was located in Kentucky.
A woman identified as Sharon Hall by CBS affiliate WKRC-TV took a photo of the “teen” around 7:30 a.m. He was wearing a green jacket and had the hood up. He was standing near an SUV and she told the TV station that at first glance, she was concerned he was “up to something.”
Another neighbor called the police. WKRC-TV quoted another neighbor, Fray Knight, who said that the “teen” looked scared: “It’s like he wanted help… but he didn’t know who to trust to get that help.”
2. The ‘Teen’ Was Covered in Bruises & Told a Witness That He Had Been ‘Traded’ Through ‘All These People’ & Wanted to Go Home
The neighbors said the “teen” was looking for help. Local ABC affiliate WCPO-TV reported that the woman who called 911 had been in a car when the man, now identified as Brian Michael Rini, approached her vehicle.
The caller, who told NBC affiliate WLWT-TV that she did not want to be identified, reportedly told police that the “teen” had asked “Can you help me? I just want to get home.” He told her that he was from Illinois. He said that he had been kidnapped and “traded through all these people,” but managed to escape and had been running for a few hours.
The TV station spoke with neighbor Crekasafra Night, who said that his face was covered in bruises. Another witness, Fray Knight told WKRC-TV that his face was red and looked as if he had been punched in the face recently. She also said the “teen” “looked hungry.”
He was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to be examined.
3. Sharonville Police: The Person Who Said His Name Was Timmothy Pitzen Claimed Two Kidnappers Had Been Holding Him For the Past Seven Years
The Sharonville Police Department was called in to help with the initial investigation. Sharonville is a city in Butler and Hamilton counties located northeast of downtown Cincinnati.
According to the police report, which you can see embedded above, the person who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen told officers that he had been kidnapped and held by two white men for the past seven years. He told police that they had been staying at a Red Roof Inn somewhere in the area. He managed to escape and ran across a bridge that connects Cincinnati with northern Kentucky.
The police report did not include the alleged names of the two suspected kidnappers. The man described them as having “body-builder type” builds. “One had black curly hair, Mt. Dew shirt and jeans, & has a spider web tattoo on his neck. The other was short in stature and had a snake tattoo on his arms.”
Campbell County Dispatch sent investigators out to multiple Red Roof Inn locations in the area. The Sharonville PD wrote in the report that the suspected kidnappers’ vehicle was a “newer model Ford SUV, bearing unknown WI plates, with a 2nd row, white in color with yellow transfer paint, and a dent on the left back bumper.” But police did not find any suspects or the vehicle.
4. Timmothy Pitzen Was Last Seen On a Surveillance Camera in Wisconsin on May 13, 2011
Timmothy Pitzen was 6 years old when he vanished, seemingly without a trace. His mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, picked Timmothy up from school shortly after his father had dropped him off on May 11, 2011. A surveillance camera at the school recorded them leaving Greenman Elementary School in Aurora, Illinois.
Jim Pitzen, Timmothy’s father, drove to the school later that day to pick him up like normal, only to learn that Timmothy was not there and that Amy had picked him up. He told WTVO-TV in 2017 that he told his employer he was taking the rest of the day off because he felt something was wrong. He called the police to report his wife and son were missing.
Cheryl Broach, Timmothy’s teacher, told the TV station that Amy Pitzen had sometimes spent time in the classroom as a volunteer. Broach said that when Amy picked her son up, Timmothy put on his backpack, waved and told his teacher, “see you tomorrow.”
5. Amy Pitzen Wrote in a Suicide Note That Timmothy Was Safe But Would Never Be Found
Amy Fry-Pitzen drove Timmothy more than 500 miles over the following two days. The last time Timmothy appeared on a surveillance camera was on May 13, 2011, at 10:10 a.m. as they checked out of a resort in Wisconsin.
Later that day, Amy was recorded at a convenience store in Winnebago, Illinois but Timmothy was not with her. Her next stop was at a hotel in Rockford.
On May 14, 2011, a hotel worker found Amy Pitzen dead in her room. She had committed suicide. She left behind a note that stated that Timmothy was with someone who loved him. But she stated that Timmothy would never be found.
Timmothy’s aunt, Kara Jacobs, and Jim Pitzen have both said they never thought Amy would have physically harmed Timmothy. They both insisted in interviews over the past several years that they remained hopeful that Timmothy was still alive and that they would never stop looking for him.