Timmothy Pitzen went missing at age 6 on May 11, 2011. His father Jim Pitzen told People the last time he saw his son he was running towards his kindergarten teacher, swinging his Spider-Man backpack. "I told him I loved him and to be good," said Jim. "And then he was gone.”
Just half an hour later, Jim’s wife Amy picked up Timmothy at his school in Aurora, Illinois, claiming that there was a family emergency.
When Amy didn’t come home that day, Jim thought that perhaps his wife was just mad at him. But as time went on, he grew increasingly worried. His wife wouldn’t even answer the phone.
"I called Amy's cell phone a couple times, always went to voicemail,” he told Crime Watch Daily. “I said 'Just tell me that you're fine, just call me, what's going on?' I had no idea where they were. I called her mom, I called her dad to see if she'd been there. I was like, 'OK, she's upset at me for some reason so she'll need to cool down.' So the next morning comes around and they're still not home so I call the police department and report Amy and Timmothy missing."
Amy didn’t get in touch with her husband but she did check in with her mother, telling her that she and Timmothy would be home in a day or two. Amy also called Jim’s brother.
"I have no idea why she called my brother. He could hear Timmothy in the background playing or hanging out. But, she also allegedly told his brother, "'Timmothy is fine. Timmothy belongs to me. Timmothy and I will be fine. Timmothy is safe.”
Three days later, 42-year-old Amy was found dead in a Rockford, Illinois motel room. Her wrists and neck were full of self-inflicted slashes. She left behind a suicide note that stated that Timmothy was safe with others who would care for him. She wrote in the note “You will never find him.”
The boy was nowhere to be found.
Police were able to trace where Amy and Timmothy went before the suicide. The mother and son went to the Brookfield Zoo, near Chicago, then north to a water resort in Gurnee, then 160 miles northwest to Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin. A surveillance camera captured them checking out after their stay in Wisconsin and Timmothy didn’t look distressed in the video.
"She took him to what was probably, certainly the last vacation of their lives together," said Denise Crosby, a columnist with the Aurora Beacon-News. "And you see visuals of him knowing that his mother would soon kill herself and he would disappear. This is what is so haunting about this story."
Then, back in Illinois, another security camera captured Amy at a food store near Rockford. But, Timmothy wasn’t with her.
Amy had struggled with depressed and had attempted suicide once before.
Police and family don’t know if Timmothy is alive or dead. Instead, they grapple with the possibilities. Has he been killed or is he somewhere out there being taken care of, like the note said?
[Aurora Police Department]