Update: The "boy" claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen is actually 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini.
A teenage boy who is claiming to be a missing child who mysteriously vanished in 2011 ran up to a stranger for help, claiming he’d been “traded” between multiple people over the years.
Could this teen in fact be Timmothy Pitzen, who at age 6 disappeared in the midst of tragedy?
The boy's mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, picked him up at school in Illinois 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.
Then, on Wednesday, a bruised 14-year-old boy ran to strangers in Kentucky for help.
"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."
Witness Crekasafra Night (it’s unclear if she’s also the 911 caller) told WCPO that the teen was skinny, anxious, and had a deep bruising on his face.
He claims he is Timmothy and that he escaped from two kidnappers in the Cincinnati area and then fled across a bridge into Kentucky.
Authorities from Timmothy’s hometown of Aurora, Illinois, are now checking out the teenager’s story and running DNA tests.
Police in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville wrote in a short incident report that the boy allegedly said Wednesday morning that he had “just escaped from two kidnappers” he described as white men with body builder-type physiques. They were in a Ford SUV with Wisconsin license plates and had been staying at a Red Roof Inn. One had black curly hair and was wearing a Mountain Dew shirt and jeans, and had a spider web tattoo on his neck. The other bears a snake tattoo on his arms.
Sharonville police said on the department’s Facebook page that the information about the boy’s reported escape was received by police in Campbell County, Kentucky.
“The City of Sharonville Police Department, like every other police agency in the greater Cincinnati area, was requested to check their Red Roof Inn hotels regarding this incident,” the post read. “To the best of our knowledge, we have no information indicating that the missing juvenile was ever in the City of Sharonville.”
The FBI said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that its offices in Cincinnati and Louisville, Kentucky, were working on a missing child investigation with Aurora police and police departments in Cincinnati, Newport, Kentucky, and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio. The FBI offered no other details.
"As you might imagine, we are keeping the Pitzen family and everyone involved in this ongoing investigation in our thoughts, and ask you all to do the same," police in Aurora wrote in a statement on its Facebook page.
Police were able to trace where Amy and Timmothy went before her 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 at the time.
Amy had reportedly struggled with depression.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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