Update: The "boy" claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen is actually 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini.
A teenage boy is claiming to be a missing person who mysteriously vanished in 2011. Could this teen 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 that no one would ever find him.
On Wednesday, a 14-year-old boy came forward to tell authorities he is Timmothy.
The boy claimed 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.
“We’ve probably had thousands of tips of him popping up in different areas,” Aurora Police Sgt. Bill Rowley said. “We have no idea what we’re driving down there for. It could be Pitzen. It could be a hoax.”
Timmothy's grandmother, Alana Anderson, told WISN-TV Wednesday that authorities have told the family “very little.”
“We just know a 14-year-old boy was found and went to the police,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to get our hopes up and our family’s hopes up until we know something. We just don’t want to get our hopes up. We’ve had false reports and false hopes before.”
Police in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville wrote in a short incident report that the boy 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 Mountain Dew shirt, jeans and 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 and Newport, Kentucky, and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio. The FBI offered no other details.
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.
Amy had reportedly struggled with depression.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.