Man who claimed to be missing Timmothy Pitzen was released from Ohio prison just last month
The man who falsely claimed to be missing child Timmothy Pitzen, a boy who vanished in 2011, reportedly has a history of getting on the wrong side of the law and using other people's identities, his brother has claimed. 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini from Medina, Ohio, said on April 3 he was the missing child from Aurora, Illinois. He even described how he ran from kidnappers and was able to get across a bridge into Kentucky.
It was reported that residents found Rini roaming around a neighborhood in Newport, Kentucky, and called 911. 24 hours after that, DNA tests proved he was not Pitzen, who the FBI said disappeared when he was just 6-years-old. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said on April 5 that Rini is currently being held at the Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati, CNN reported.
The FBI will reportedly be taking the lead in the investigation. The spokesperson for the sheriff's office, Dave Daugherty, said Rini isn't facing any local charges but it is possible he may face federal charges. Court records show he was released from prison in Ohio last month after he served time for burglary and vandalism, both of which are felonies.
The crimes took place in Medina County in January 2018. Rini was sentenced to one year and six months in prison. He was released March 7 and was reportedly supposed to start parole supervision on that day for three years. Rini's brother, Jonathon Rini, said his brother was in prison a lot even as a child, "just getting into random little bouts of trouble, fights at home". Jonathon also said his brother was "placed on juvenile probation and then he just continuously violated his probation".
The ex-convict's deceptive ways, however, have ruined the hopes of Pitzen's relatives who thought their long search for the boy, who would be 14-years-old, was finally over. "It's like reliving that day all over again, and Pitzen's father is devastated once again, as are we," said the boy's aunt Kara Jacobs, her voice choked with emotion.
Neither Jacobs nor the boy's grandmother Alana Anderson tried to hide their disappointment as they struggled for composure during a brief news conference outside Anderson's home in Antioch, about 60 miles north of Aurora.
Anderson said her prayer has always been that when Pitzen was old enough, "he would find us if we couldn't find him." She held out hope that if he's "in a place where he has communication with the media or a computer, that he'll remember us enough to look for us, and I think he will. He's a very smart guy."
The rest of Aurora seemed to share in the family's disappointment. "I know the community won't give up that he is out there," said Nick Baughman, former principal at the school where Amy Fry-Pitzen took her 6-year-old son out of his kindergarten class on May 11, 2011, saying something about a family emergency.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that wearing his backpack, Pitzen waved to his classmates, saying "See you tomorrow," teacher Cheryl Broach recalled. The two climbed into Fry-Pitzen's SUV and went on an adventure that included a visit to the Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago, a suburban Chicago resort and another resort in the Wisconsin Dells, a region that calls itself the "Waterpark Capital of the World."
The next day, according to video footage released later by police, the boy and his mother were seen leaving the Kalahari Resorts in the Dells. That was the last time the two were seen together. When Fry-Pitzen checked into a motel in Rockford, Illinois, about 120 miles away, on May 13, she was alone, according to police.
The following afternoon, her body turned up but with no sign of her son. A note she left said the boy was being cared for by someone who loved him in a place where he would never be found. In the first days of the search, police said they found a significant amount of blood in the SUV's back seat, and tests confirmed it was the boy's.
That news initially terrified Anderson, but the boy's father explained that his son had a history of nosebleeds and had suffered a serious one just days before he disappeared. At Greenman Elementary, classmates, teachers, and parents tried to help by tying hundreds of yellow ribbons around trees and signs. A garden was planted in Pitzen's memory. "There were a lot of prayers, I recall," Baughman said Thursday. "It was just one of those moments where you want to maintain hope and be supportive."
Police tried to piece together the route Fry-Pitzen might have taken in her SUV, but in the years that followed, authorities never offered a public explanation for her actions. Reported sightings of the boy went nowhere. Investigators became frustrated by what they called hoaxes.
When Fry-Pitzen died, she was on her fourth marriage, Anderson said. Her daughter had battled depression for years and was taking medication. "She and her husband were having problems," Anderson said. "We were very concerned and told her we would help her any way we could."
With AP inputs.