CINCINNATI (NBC News) – FBI investigators said Thursday DNA tests show that a young man who approached strangers asking for help is not Timmothy Pitzen, missing since 2011.
“It’s devastating it’s like reliving that day all over again,” said Kara Jacobs, Timmothy’s aunt.
The man was taken to a Kentucky hospital after asking a stranger for help Wednesday, claiming that he was Pitzen.
According to police in Newport, Kentucky, the man has been identified as Brian Michael Rini, 24, of Medina, Ohio.
“This appears to be either a hoax or a person lying about who he was,” said Sgt. Bill Rowley of the Aurora, Illinois Police Department, one of several agencies involved with the Pitzen case.
Timmothy Pitzen was last seen in 2011, when he was just 6 years old, at a water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
His mother was later found dead of an apparent suicide in a motel room in Rockford, Illinois along with a note saying Timmothy was with people who loved him, and would never be found.
According to a police report, the boy said he’d escaped from two men in who’d held him for hostage for years.
He described his captors as white men with “bodybuilder type builds,” one with a spider tattoo on his neck, the other a snake tattoo on his arms.
Despite their heartbreak, Pitzen’s family members were also forgiving.
“I feel so sorry for the young man who has obviously had a horrible time and felt the need to say he was someone else,” said Alana Anderson, Timmothy’s grandmother.
Rini recently served 18 months in Ohio for trashing a $400,000 model home with a group of friends for a “tattoo party.” He pleaded guilty to burglary and vandalism in that incident in January 2018.
He was charged Friday with making false statements to a federal agent, according to the FBI. If convicted, he could spend eight years in federal prison.
Investigators believe renewed interest in the case could lead to Timm’s real location.
“We know that you are out there somewhere Tim. We will never stop looking for you, praying for you and loving for,” Kara Jacobs said.
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