HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — The Medina man accused of claiming to be a boy who went missing in 2011 has been booked into Hamilton County Jail.
Brian Michael Rini, 23, hasn’t yet been criminally charged, according to jail records, but he was booked at 10:18 p.m. Thursday.
Rini was found wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky, on Wednesday and identified himself as missing 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen.
He told police he had just escaped from two men who had held him captive for seven years.
Timmothy disappeared in 2011 at age 6, and a note left behind by his mother before she took her own life said he was being cared for and would never be found. Timmothy’s family was cautiously hopeful over Wednesday’s news, as were neighbors and others who have long wondered whether he is dead or alive.
But the FBI said Thursday afternoon that DNA tests determined the young man was not Timmothy.
Rini was released from an Ohio prison less than a month ago after serving more than a year for burglary and vandalism after he was accused of throwing a destructive party at a model home in Brunswick Hills Township in 2017.
He was just released in March.
Rini’s brother, Jonathon, told FOX 8 News he’s not surprised by the allegations; he claims his brother suffers from mental health issues. Jonathan said he hasn’t spoken to Brian in four years.
Timmothy vanished after his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, pulled him out of kindergarten early one day, took him on a two-day road trip to the zoo and a water park, and then killed herself at a hotel. She left a note saying that her son was safe with people who would love and care for him, and added: “You will 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.
Timmothy’s grandmother said her daughter had fought depression for years and was having problems in her marriage to Timmothy’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.
The brief but tantalizing possibility that the case had been solved generated excitement in Timmothy’s former neighborhood.
Pedro Melendez, who lives in Timmothy’s former home, didn’t know the boy but saved the concrete slab with his name, handprint and footprint etched in it when he redid the back patio. It is dated ’09.
Linda Ramirez, who lives nearby and knew the family, said she was “pretty excited” but didn’t “want to have false hopes.”
Rowley expressed hope that the flurry of activity and attention had renewed interest in the case.
“Perhaps, it has people looking at the case with new eyes,” the police sergeant said.