Person found in Kentucky determined to not be missing Illinois child: What we know

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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DNA Results Determine Person Found in Kentucky is Not Missing Illinois Boy

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A DNA test proved that a person who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen, an Illinois boy who vanished when he was 6 years old in 2011, was not him.

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“DNA results have been returned indicating the person in question is not Timmothy Pitzen,” officials with FBI’s  Louisville office said Thursday in a tweet.

Who was the person claiming to be Timmothy?

A DNA test proved the person was actually 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini, a Medina, Ohio, man recently released from prison, WCPO-TV reported.

Rini was released March 7 from the Belmont Correctional Institution after serving just more than a year for a burglary and vandalism conviction, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

His identity was discovered after Rini agreed to submit to a buccal swab. Authorities said in a affidavit filed Friday in federal court that Rini’s DNA was checked against Timmothy’s parents and, when that failed to produce a match, the database accessible to law enforcement.

How was Rini found?

Authorities said Rini claimed to be Timmothy after he was found wandering around Newport, Kentucky, on Wednesday morning.

"He walked up to my car and he went, 'Can you help me?'" a 911 caller told dispatchers, according to WCPO-TV. "'I just want to get home. Please help me.' I asked him what's going on, and he tells me he's been kidnapped and he's been traded through all these people and he just wanted to go home."

>> Man who claimed to be missing Illinois boy Timmothy Pitzen charged with lying to FBI 

He told police he had escaped on foot from a pair of men who held him against his will for nearly eight years, most recently inside a Red Roof Inn, though he didn't remember the motel's location, WCPO reported.

After he escaped, he said he ran, crossing a bridge until he reached Newport.

What are the charges against Rini?

Authorities charged Rini on Friday with making a false statement to a federal agent.

U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman said Rini claimed to be Timmothy even after an FBI agent read him his Miranda rights and warned him that he could face prosecution for lying to authorities.

It wasn’t until after he was confronted with the DNA evidence that Rini admitted to his identity, officials said.

Glassman said Rini could face as many as eight years in federal prion if he’s found guilty, because the case involves “lying about a material matter that involves the sex trafficking of children.”

Why did Rini allegedly pretend to be Timmothy?

In an affidavit filed Friday in court, authorities said Rini had twice before pretended to be a juvenile sex trafficking victim. In both of those instances, which police didn’t elaborate on Friday, his identity was discovered after he gave authorities his fingerprints.

Officials said Rini admitted he had seen Timmothy's story on an episode of ABC's "20/20." Glassman said Friday that a re-run of an episode featuring Timmothy's case had aired in recent weeks.
"He stated that he wanted to get away from his own family," according to the affidavit. "When questioned further, Rini stated that he wished he had a father like Timmothy's because if he went missing, his father would jsut keep drinking."

How did Timmothy come up missing?

He was last seen with his mother, 43-year-old Amy Fry-Pitzen, on May 11, 2011. She’d checked him out of his kindergarten class and driven him to a zoo and water parks before the boy seemingly disappeared after they checked out of a Wisconsin Dells resort.

His mother was found dead by apparent suicide in a Rockford, Illinois, hotel room. Police told ABC News at the time she'd left a note stating that she left Timmothy with people who "would care for him and love him" but didn't name them. The note promised they would never be found.

When her body was found, Timmothy, his car booster seat and backpack were gone.

Angeline Hartmann, director of digital and broadcast media for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said she was aware of the reports about Timmothy but said his disappearance remains “an active NCMEC case.”

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