ILLINOIS — The father of Timmothy Pitzen is not giving up hope that his son will be found after learning a report of someone claiming to be his boy was not true.
Jim Pitzen told PEOPLE when a detective reached out to him last week with the news that someone was claiming to be Timmothy, he started imagining everything he would now be able to do with his son. Timmothy was six years old when he was last seen; he would now be 14. “I’ve got to get him stable and back to trusting people,” Pitzen told PEOPLE.
Sadly, Timmothy’s father soon learned the claim wasn’t true: It wasn’t his long-lost son; instead, authorities say it was a 23-year-old Northeast Ohio man, Brian Rini, who was impersonating the boy.
Rini is charged with lying to federal agents, which carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.
He’s being held without bond.
Last week, Rini told police in Newport, Kentucky, he was Timmothy Pitzen and claimed he just escaped from his captors, according to federal investigators. He refused to provide fingerprints, but DNA confirmed he was not the missing boy.
Rini learned about Pitzen’s disappearance from an episode of “20/20,” according to an indictment; the episode recently re-aired.
Pitzen was last seen with his mother at a water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc. on May 12, 2011. His mom took her own life, leaving a note, “You will never find him.”
But, Jim Pitzen does not believe that to be true. “My son is still out there somewhere needing to come home to his family,” he told PEOPLE.
Anyone with information on Timmothy Pitzen is asked to call the Aurora Police Department in Illinois at 630-256-5000 or the Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.