Brian Michael Rini has been sentenced to prison after impersonating the long-missing Timmothy Pitzen.
The 24-year-old Ohio man was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday for aggravated identity theft. In January, Rini pleaded guilty nine months after falsely claiming to the Pitzen family that he was Timmothy.
Timmothy’s mother Amy took him out of his kindergarten class in Aurora, Illinois, in May 2011 prior to dying by suicide days later. She left behind a note explaining her son was “safe” and “you will never find him.”
Timmothy was just 6 years old when he disappeared and authorities continue to look for leads to find the boy, who would be 15 now.
And in April 2019, Rini claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen when he turned up on the street in Newport, Kentucky, and alleged he was a kidnap victim fleeing sex traffickers that he’d left behind in a Red Roof Inn.
It was a DNA test that revealed Rini’s actual identity: an ex-con who was recently released after being imprisoned for stealing and burglary. Previously, Rini also had tried to pass himself off as a sex trafficking victim. He informed authorities he adopted Timmothy’s identity after discovering Timmothy’s case and his father’s devoted search on ABC News’ 20/20.
In January of this year, Timmothy’s aunt Kara Jacobs shared:
“We’re glad he’s pleading guilty and not wasting any more time of the courts and legal systems or police that have better things to do. We hope that he gets the help that he obviously needs, and we hope that the public continues to think about not only Timmothy’s case, but also any missing kids’ cases that may be in their area.”
She added at the time how Timmothy’s family has “no doubt in our minds whatsoever” that he is still out there.
Just after the hoax was uncovered, Timmothy’s father Jim Pitzen says he still is looking to be reunited with his son.
“I’m waiting for an answer from the police department, ‘Yes, this is Timmothy Pitzen.’ It’s a big waiting game I play all the time on when he’s coming home,” he said. “The longer he’s away, the less time I’m going to have with my son. One thing you can’t do is make up for lost time. I guess he’s just missed more every day.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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