Timmothy Pitzen: Ex-convict charged with pretending to be long-missing boy

'It’s not okay to do it because of the harm that it causes, the pain, for the family of that missing child'

Samuel Osborne
Saturday 06 April 2019 15:49 BST
Timmothy Pitzen: Teenager tells police he is missing child who vanished eight years ago in Illinois

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Louise Thomas

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A former convict accused of pulling a cruel hoax by pretending pretended to be a missing boy from Illinois has been charged with making false statements.

Brian Rini, 23, had claimed he was 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen, who went missing in 2011 after his mother killed herself when he was six-years-old.

He said he had escaped from an eight-year ordeal at the hands of sex traffickers.

But Mr Rini’s claims were debunked earlier this week after DNA tests confirmed he was not the long-lost boy.

The FBI said Mr Rini had made false claims twice before, also portraying himself as a juvenile sex-trafficking victim.

“Law enforcement confronted him with the DNA results, and at that point the person immediately stated that he was not Timmothy Pitzen, and of course law enforcement knew by virtue of the DNA analysis that he was in fact Brian Rini,” said US attorney Benjamin Glassman.

The charge should send a message about the damage such false claims can do, he said, adding: ”It’s not okay to do it because of the harm that it causes, the pain, for the family of that missing child."

After confessing he was not Mr Pitzen, Mr Rini told federal agents he had heard about the missing boy’s case on the ABC television program 20/20 and wanted to get away from his own family, according to court documents.

“When questioned further, Rini stated that he wished he had a father like Timmothy’s because if he went missing, his father would just keep drinking,” FBI agent Mary Braun wrote.

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Mr Rini is being held without bail until his detention hearing on Tuesday after a brief appearance in federal court. He faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty, Mr Glassman said.

Mr Pitzen’s case has stumped authorities since May 2011. The boy was last seen with his mother, who pulled him out of school and took him on a trip to a zoo and a water park, then took her own life in a motel room, leaving behind a cryptic note about her son’s whereabouts.

“Tim is somewhere safe with people who love him and will care for him,” she wrote in the note. “You will never find him.”

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