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Man Accused Of Posing As Missing Boy Timmothy Pitzen Ordered Held Without Bond
Brian Rini, 23, has been charged with making a false statement to federal agents.
The Ohio man accused of pretending to be an Illinois boy missing since 2011 will remain jailed without bond.
Last week Brian Rini, 23, was charged with making false statements to a federal agent. He allegedly posed as Timmothy Pitzen, a child who vanished in at the age of 6 and would be 14 now.
On Tuesday, a U.S. magistrate ordered him to remain jailed, the Associated Press reports.
“I believe Mr. Rini poses a risk of flight,” Magistrate Karen Litkovitz said during the brief hearing. She referenced his “lengthy criminal history” that goes back to age 13 and mental health issues.
Rini was present, reportedly with his wrists and ankles shackled.
Litkovitz noted that he had just been released on probation last month from state prison for burglary and vandalism charges. He had served time for both burglarizing and vandalizing a $400,000 home for sale in Ohio in 2017, according to Tribune Media.
Rini made headlines this month after he allegedly decided to pose as Pitzen after learning about him through ABC's “20/20.” An episode on the Pitzen case reportedly re-ran within the last few weeks. DNA tests proved that he was not, in fact, the missing child.
Pitzen, of Aurora, Illinois, disappeared at age 6. Pitzen’s mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, picked him up at school on May 11, 2011, took him to the zoo and a water park, and then killed herself at a hotel, leaving a note in which she said her son was fine but insisted that no one would ever find him. His family has been trying to track him down ever since.
His family became hopeful, and then were quickly disappointed, after a person ran up to strangers last week in Newport, Kentucky looking for help and claiming to be the Pitzen.
"He walked up to my car and he went, 'Can you help me?'" a 911 caller told dispatchers, according to WCPO in Cincinnati. "'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."
Federal authorities said Rini has portrayed himself to be a juvenile sex-trafficking victim twice before this case.
An April 19 preliminary hearing has now been scheduled for Rini. He could face up to eight years in prison if convicted.
In 2017, Rini was treated at an Ohio center for people suffering with either mental health or substance abuse problems.
“I’m not surprised. I mean, he’s nuts,” his sibling Jonathan Rini, 21, told CBS 19 in Cleveland when asked how he felt about his brother’s alleged attempt to pose as Pitzen. “He’s been doing stupid stuff, not this serious, but he’s been doing stupid stuff for as long as I can remember.”
Jonathan Rini said neither he nor his mother have spoken to Brian in years and that he has no plans to.