DNA tests showed that the person found Wednesday in Northern Kentucky is not 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen, the FBI said Thursday. Instead, officials said it was a 23-year-old convicted felon from Medina, Ohio – Brian Michael Rini.
Rini’s name came up in a DNA database, officials said.
On Wednesday, Rini told police he was Timmothy, who has been missing from Illinois for nearly eight years.
Newport Police Chief Tom Collins told reporters that he doesn’t know why Rini made up the story. Collins said his department and the FBI are both looking at pursuing charges, although it’s not yet clear what charges Rini could face.
He has an adult criminal record dating back to 2013.
Records show Rini was released from an Ohio prison March 7 after serving more than a year for burglary and vandalism.
Rini was among four men charged in Medina County in 2017 after officials said they hosted a party and caused more than $1,000 in damage to a former model home.
According to the Medina Gazette, Rini had visited the $400,000 home as a potential buyer. Two days later, he introduced himself to neighbors and told them he had purchased the house and was hosting a party that night, the Gazette reported. The next day, police were notified about the damage.
Rini also has been convicted twice, in 2015 and 2016, of making false alarms, records show. At least one of those involved a law enforcement agency. He also has convictions for passing bad checks and falsification.
The Aurora Police Department in Illinois will continue to lead the investigation into Timmothy’s disappearance. The FBI will assist when needed, FBI Louisville spokesman Timothy Beam said.
“To be clear, law enforcement has not and will not forget Timmothy, and we hope to one day reunite him with his family,” Beam said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that day will not be today.”
Aurora police have received thousands of tips over the years regarding Timmothy. No one ever falsely identified themselves as the boy, said department spokesman Sgt. William Rowley.
He expressed hope that Timmothy – the real Timmothy – is found one day. In a perverse way, that goal may have been abetted by Rini’s conduct.
“It created a renewed awareness in the case,” Rowley said. “It’s good that it’s got people thinking about the case again, and perhaps has people looking at the case with new eyes.”
Timmothy was 6 years old when he was reported missing in May 2011. He lived in Aurora, Illinois.
There have been reported sightings over the years, but nothing seemingly as definitive as what happened Wednesday morning in Newport.
Authorities received a call about a person on Columbia Street “who didn’t seem like he belonged there,” Collins said.
A person police said was Rini told them he was Timmothy James Pitzen and had escaped from two men who were holding him captive and then ran across a bridge into Kentucky. He gave Timmothy’s date of birth.
He also gave detailed descriptions of the two men he called “kidnappers,” a police report says.
He described, also in specific detail, tattoos the men had and a Ford SUV with Wisconsin license plates he said they had been driving.
Rini, in fact, initially was treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Timmothy’s family members addressed the media Thursday after the announcement that their loved one was still gone.
“It’s been awful,” said Alana Anderson, Timmothy’s grandmother. “I feel so sorry for the young man who’s obviously had a horrible time and felt the need to say he was someone else.
“It’s kind of back to ground zero for us.”
Kara Jacobs, Timmothy’s aunt, said the missing child’s father is devastated.
“It’s like reliving that day all over again,” she said.
Timmothy was last seen the morning of May 13, 2011 in a security video, when he and his mother checked out of a resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Two days before, Amy Fry-Pitzen had taken him out of school.
She was found dead in an Illinois hotel room from an apparent suicide.
She left a note saying Timmothy was “somewhere safe with people who love him and will take care of him,” according to the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago.
“You will never find him,” the note said.
Anyone with information about Timmothy is urged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or the Aurora Police Department at 630-256-5000.
Image: Brian Michael Rini (left) and Timmothy Pitzen