Lifestyle & Human Interest

Unsolved: What Happened to 6-Year-Old Timmothy Pitzen


Timmothy Pitzen’s story was recently in the news after a 23-year-old man claimed to be the missing boy. The false claim re-opened wounds for his family, but brought more attention to Timmothy’s disappearance.

On May 11, 2011, his father, Jim Pitzen, dropped the then-6-year-old off at his elementary school in Aurora, Illinois. However, his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, checked their son out of school early that day.

Once Pitzen realized that his wife and son had disappeared, he filed a report in order to try to bring them home safely.

It’s been eight years since that day, but Timmothy’s case still remains unsolved.

When was Timmothy Pitzen last seen?

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According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Timmothy was last seen at 10:10 a.m. on May 13, 2011, with his mother at a resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Fry-Pitzen traveled 500 miles over two days before law enforcement found her body on May 14 in a Rockford, Illinois, hotel room. Investigators concluded that she had died by suicide. Timmothy was not there.

Investigators discovered a note beside Fry-Pitzen’s body that said Timmothy was left in good care, but that he would never be found.

The search for Timmothy has lasted eight years, but the family continues to hold onto hope that he will come home one day.

In a video published in 2013, Timmothy’s aunt Kara Jacobs told NCMEC, “We just believe with every fiber of our being that he is alive. So without any kind of logic to give you, I can just tell you that I know he’s alive.”

Who was the man who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen in April 2019?

On April 3, 2019, a teenage boy was seen nervously pacing in a neighborhood in Sharonville, Ohio, near Cincinnati. The young boy’s reaction to passing cars made residents in the community believe that he was running away from danger rather than trying to cause it.

Shortly after, someone called 911 and said, “He walked up to my car and he went, ‘Can you help me? 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.”

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When law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they asked the teen his name but they were not expecting what would come out of his mouth: Timmothy Pitzen.

The boy who was found in Ohio was able to give the correct birth date as well as the name of Timmothy’s father.

Aurora Police traveled to Ohio to perform a DNA test on the boy who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen, but on April 4, 2019, FBI Louisville tweeted, “DNA results have been returned indicating the person in question is not Timmothy Pitzen.”

Not only did investigators discover that the “teenage boy” was not Timmothy, but they also discovered that he was actually a 23-year-old man named Brian Rini.

Is the search still ongoing?

Even though the false claim opened old wounds for Timmothy’s family, they asked the public to pray for Rini and expressed their longstanding hope.

“I am hopeful,” his grandmother, Alana Anderson said. “I certainly hope that if Tim is in a place where he has communication with the media or a computer that he’ll remember us enough to look for us one day. And I think he will.”

Timmothy would now be 14 years old.

If you have any information on Timmothy Pitzen’s whereabouts, please contact the Aurora Police at (630) 256-5500.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, is sharing unsolved cases, like Timmothy’s, in hopes of keeping these stories alive and encouraging anyone with new information to contact the proper authorities. To read more of our “Unsolved” series, click here.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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