CINCINNATI — The person who claimed he was missing Aurora boy Timmothy Pitzen was identified as a 23-year-old Ohio man.
On Thursday, the Louisville FBI said DNA results showed that the person who claimed he was Pitzen, who was originally identified as a 14-year-old, was not the missing child, but was instead Brian Michael Rini of Medina, Ohio. According to authorities, Rini had a history of making false reports.
Pitzen’s grandmother and aunt spoke out shortly after the DNA results were made public. His aunt said they will never stop looking for him and will never stop praying for him.
The person told authorities in Kentucky on Wednesday that he was Pitzen, who disappeared from Aurora in 2011. The man said he escaped kidnappers at a Red Roof Inn in the Cincinnati area, and kept running until he ran across a bridge to Newport, Ky.
He described the kidnappers as two white men with body builder-type physiques, according to the incident report. They report said they were in a Ford SUV with Wisconsin license plates and had been staying at a Red Roof Inn.
A witness said the person looked like he had been beaten up. The witness also said you could "see the fear on him and how nervous he was."
He was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for observation.
Pitzen was 6 years old when he went missing in May 2011, after his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, picked him up from Greenman Elementary School in Aurora.
The two went on a three-day road trip stopping at Brookfield Zoo and water parks in Gurnee and Wisconsin Dells. They were last seen on hotel surveillance video in Wisconsin.
Fry-Pitzen was found dead days later in a Rockford motel along with a note saying her son was “safe” with people who would take care of him. Authorities said she killed herself. The note she left also said, "You'll never find him."
Police have said she might have dropped the boy off with a friend, noting that his car seat and Spider-Man backpack were gone.
Pitzen's grandmother said her daughter had fought depression for years and was having problems in her marriage to the boy's father. News reports suggested she was afraid she would lose custody of the boy in a divorce because of her mental instability.
At Greenman Elementary after the boy's disappearance, Timmothy's schoolmates, teachers and parents tied hundreds of yellow ribbons around trees and signs. A garden was planted in his memory.
Pitzen’s grandmother, Alana Anderson, said the family has endured so much heartbreak but never gave up hope.
"We never stopped looking for him, thinking about him and we'll do everything we can to get him back to a good life," Anderson said.
The family said all they can do now is hope.
In Pitzen's hometown of Aurora, Illinois, police Sgt. Bill Rowley said that over the years his department received thousands of tips about Pitzen, including false sightings.
"We're always worried about copycats, especially something that has a big national attention like this," he said.
He said he felt bad for the family, because this is another time where they've had their hopes raised.
“I hope that someday we’re able to find can find young Timmothy and find out where he was and what happened to him, so we can reunite that family,” he said.
The investigation remains under investigation. Aurora police said they’ll continue the search to find Pitzen and said even through the wild emotional swings of the last 48 hours, there may be a silver lining.
“It created a renewed awareness in the case, so I think that’s probably good. It’s got people thinking about the case again and with new eyes,” Rowley said.
Louisville officials said anyone with genuine information about the case is asked to call the Aurora Police Department at 630-256-5000 or the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).