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FBI Says Young Man Found In Newport Is Not Timmothy Pitzen

Updated: Friday, 4:28 p.m.

An Ohio man is in federal custody after falsely claiming he was a boy missing since 2011. 23-year-old Brian Rini is charged with lying to a federal agent. District Attorney Ben Glassman says DNA testing shows Rini is not Timmothy Pitzen of Illinois who was last seen in 2011.

This Brian Rini was released from prison March 7, 2019.
Credit Ohio Department of Corrections
This Brian Rini was released from prison March 7, 2019.

Pitzen's mother allegedly killed herself in a Rockford, Illinois, motel room, after writing notes claiming Timmothy was with people who loved him and would take care of him. The notes also said he would never be found.

"Mr. Rini told agents that he learned this information from watching a 20/20 episode about Timmothy Pitzen. We confirmed that there was such an episode and a rerun aired just weeks ago," Glassman says.

Rini reportedly told investigators "he wished he had a father like Timmothy's."

The Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio says Rini was questioned by FBI agents and advised that giving false information to federal investigators was a crime. Glassman says Rini held to his story that he was Pitzen until he was confronted with DNA evidence that showed he wasn't.

Brian Michael Rini appeared before a federal magistrate Friday morning and was ordered held without bond. A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Brian Rini was released from prison in March after serving 18 months for vandalism and burglary. 

Newport residents spotted the person in question near West Eighth and Columbia on Wednesday. They described him as having deep bruising and anxiety. Eventually he reportedly walked up to a car and asked for help.

"He walked up to my car and he went, 'Can you help me? I just want to get home,' " a 911 caller told dispatchers. "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."

The Aurora, Ill., Police Facebook posted what residents thought would be good news. But now their optimism has turned to sorrow. One person said, "Sad on both accounts."

At age 6, Pitzen was last seen in 2011 with his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, at the Wisconsin Dells water park in Wisconsin, before she apparently took her life. ABC news reports she had left a note stating that she left Timmothy with people who "would care for him and love him," but she didn't name them.

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At left, Timmothy Pitzen at age 6 and left, how he might look as a teenager today.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children /
At left, Timmothy Pitzen at age 6 and left, how he might look as a teenager today.