Person Who Claimed to be Missing Illinois Child Timmothy Pitzen Is Identified as a 23-Year-Old Man

The person who claimed he was the six-year-old boy who went missing in 2011 has been identified by authorities as a man in his early twenties.

Thomas Collins, the Chief of Police in Newport, Kentucky, confirmed that the man who was found Wednesday on a Kentucky street, claiming to be 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen is actually 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini, ABC 7 ChicagoFox 8 Cleveland, and WLWT5 reports.

The Medina, Ohio native reportedly has a history of legal trouble and documented mental health issues, according to authorities.



Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney told ABC 7 that Rini had interacted with officials up to 60 times during his “extensive criminal history with Medina police.”

Kinney also noted that Rini, who is regarded as a “known schemer,” has been in and out of jail on a wide range of charges, including passing bad checks, making false alarms, theft, falsification, and most recently, burglary and vandalism, according to WLWT5.

At this time, it is unclear if Rini will face any charges or if he has retained legal counsel to speak on his behalf.

Brian Rini and Timmothy Pitzen
Brian Rini and Timmothy Pitzen

In 2017, Brunswick Hills Township Police said that Rini convinced a realtor to give him a showing of an expensive home and later that night, snuck back into the property to throw a party and trashed the place, according to WLWT5.

Rini was charged with burglary and vandalism and served an 18-month prison sentence but was recently released from Belmont Correctional Institute last month, according to the outlet.

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After police confirmed that Rini was not who he claimed to be, Timmothy’s aunt Kara Jacobs and maternal grandmother Alana Anderson spoke out and expressed their sympathy for the man who claimed to be their nephew and grandson.

“I don’t think that anything involving a child is a hoax and I would reserve all judgment and pray for the young man involved,” Jacobs told reporters during a press conference.

Added Anderson: “[The past 24 hours have] been awful. We’ve been on tenterhooks… It’s just been exhausting. As Kara said, I feel so sorry for the young man who had a horrible time and felt the need to say he was someone else and hope that they can find his family.”

Timmothy James Pitzen
Timmothy James Pitzen

Rini’s estranged brother Jonathan also spoke out, noting to Fox 8 and WLWT5 that he was not surprised that his sibling would do this.

“He’s been doing stupid stuff, not this serious, but he’s been doing stupid stuff for as long as I can remember,” he said, according to Fox 8. “He was receiving treatment, but then he stopped and started getting in more trouble… he recently just got out of prison.”

“I haven’t talked to him in four years,” Jonathan added to WLWT5. “I’m not surprised. I mean, he’s nuts.”

Timmothy James Pitzen
Timmothy James Pitzen

RELATED: A Father’s Desperate Search for His Son: ‘Maybe I’ll See Him Tomorrow’

Timmothy was last seen at a water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, with his mother. He would have been 14 on Wednesday.



His mother Amy, 42, picked up her son from his elementary school on May 11, 2011. Three days later, she was found dead in a motel room in Rockford, Illinois. Nearby was what police characterized as a suicide note.

In it, Amy wrote that Timmothy was “safe” with others who would love and care for him. She added, “You will never find him.”

The boy’s father, Jim Pitzen, has vowed not to rest until Timmothy — who he described to PEOPLE in 2015 as “a little mini-me” — was found safe.

Timmothy Pitzen and his mom
Timmothy Pitzen and his mom

On Wednesday, the person found wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky, identified himself to neighbors and police as Timmothy.

A Sharonville police report states the man told officers he was Timmothy Pitzen, and that he was being held by two men.

“Timmothy described the two kidnappers as two male, whites, body-builder type build,” reads the report. “One had black curly hair, Mt. Dew shirt and jeans, and has a spider web tattoo on his neck. The other was short in stature and had a snake tattoo on his arms.”

He told police he’d been staying with the men in a Red Roof Inn and had escaped them by running across an Ohio River bridge into nearby Kentucky.

RELATED: DNA Proves Boy Claiming to Be Missing Illinois Child Is Not Timmothy Pitzen

On Thursday, however, authorities were able to conclude through DNA that this was not Timmothy.

At 4:37 pm EST, FBI Louisville tweeted, “DNA results have been returned indicating the person in question is not Timmothy Pitzen.”

In a follow-up tweet, the agency stated: “To be clear, law enforcement has not and will not forget Timmothy, and we hope to one day reunite him with his family. Unfortunately, that day will not be today.”