Man with criminal history falsely claims to be missing boy; False ID is ‘like reliving the day,’ family says

CHICAGO  — The family of an Illinois boy missing since 2011 says they are heartbroken after police determined that a person claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen apparently carried out a hoax.

Kara Jacobs told reporters Thursday that learning her nephew had not been found is "like reliving the day" he disappeared over again. Anderson also said his father, James Pitzen, "is devastated once again."

Aurora police Sgt. Bill Rowley called the person's claim "a disappointment" and that this was another time the family had their "hope raised."

The man accused of claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen is not 14 years old. He is Brian Rini, 23, and has an extensive criminal record in northeast Ohio.

Rini told police in Kentucky Wednesday that he had just escaped from kidnappers in the Cincinnati area after being held captive for seven years. The FBI said Thursday that DNA testing ruled him out as being Timmothy who was removed at age 6 by his mother from his Aurora school.

Amy Fry-Pitzen later was found dead at a hotel in Illinois in a suicide. She left a note that said Timmothy was with others who would love and care for him.

Police in Ohio said Thursday they are very familiar with Rini. He was released from prison March 7.

In 2017, Rini reportedly threw a party in inside a $400,000 Ohio home that was for sale. Rini told neighbors he planned to buy the house and was going to throw a big party that night.

Police chief Tim Sopkovich said videos on Facebook showed Rini inside the home saying, “We're going to party. Bring your own drugs."

Police said Rini and friends trashed the home and had no intention of ever moving in.

He was charged with burglary and vandalism and went to prison in January 2018.

In March 2019, he was released and on probation. Now, less than a month later, authorities said Rini  pretended to be Pitzen, a boy who had been missing since 2011.

Police records show Rini has been in trouble before for walking out on bar tabs, passing bad checks and making false alarms with police.

Officials said Thursday he was being psychologically evaluated. It’s not the first time his competency has been evaluated. In 2013 in Medina County, Ohio, officials evaluated his mental condition and his competency to stand trial.

They found he was of sound mind, but the police chief in the county told reporters they have fielded numerous calls about Rini over the years that suggest he might be suffering from mental illness.

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