The person found wandering the streets in Kentucky who claimed to be missing 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen is actually a 24-year-old man named Bryan Michael Rini, police said on Thursday.
The FBI said it conducted a DNA test on the person who had been found this week and confirmed that it was not a match to Pitzen, the boy who has been missing for eight years. Timmothy went missing in 2011 after being taken out of school by his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen. As the Star-Tribune reported, she had taken the 6-year-old from his kindergarten and brought him on a two-day trip to a zoo and water park, then took her own life inside a hotel room. Fry-Pitzen left a note saying that her son was safe with people who loved and cared for him, writing, “You will never find him.”
As The Daily Mail reported, the person who turned up this week claimed that he was Pitzen and had escaped from kidnappers in Cincinnati then ran across a bridge into Kentucky.
The report noted that local police had been wary of Rini’s story, as they had already followed a number of false leads in the eight years that the boy went missing.
“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,” an Aurora Police Department spokesperson said.
Timmothy Pitzen’s disappearance remains shrouded in mystery. While there had been suspicion that the boy was killed by his mother, police said it appeared she purchased clothing and toys in the days before taking her own life. Family members said Amy Fry-Pitzen was worried that she might lose custody of the boy in a divorce because she had battled depression and was mentally unstable.
This week, members of Timmothy’s family expressed cautious optimism that they may have found the boy.
“There have been so many tips and sightings and whatnot, and you try not to panic or be overly excited,” said Timmothy’s grandmother, Alana Anderson. “Every day you hope, and every day you worry.”
Brian Michael Rini, a 24-year-old from Medina, Ohio, with a previous criminal record for fraud and making false claims to police, is the man who claimed he was missing Illinois boy Timmothy Pitzen: https://t.co/hZEKTrNhGe #breaking pic.twitter.com/5URNJUpJwU— Tom Cleary (@tomwcleary) April 4, 2019
Police did not say why the man found in Kentucky was claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen or whether he had any connection to the boy or his disappearance. Police records show that Rini had a history of fraud and making false statements to police. It was not yet clear if he could face charges for falsely identifying himself as the missing boy.