An Ohio man who pretended to be missing Timmothy Pitzen, who vanished as a baby in 2011, was sentenced to two years in prison for aggravated identification theft.
Brian Michael Rini, 24, was sentenced Tuesday by a federal choose after pleading responsible, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio stated in a press release.
Rini, posing as a young person, told Kentucky investigators in April 2019 that he was Pitzen and had run throughout a bridge from Ohio to Kentucky to escape two kidnappers. He stated that he had been sexually and bodily assaulted for years whereas in captivity and that he was having stomach ache, officers stated.
Rini, who had been launched from an Ohio jail the month prior, continued his ruse till authorities instructed him that the outcomes of a DNA check he agreed to take didn’t match DNA of Pitzen’s relations. Because Rini had beforehand served time in jail for a conviction on housebreaking and vandalism prices, the FBI had entry to his DNA.
Pitzen, of Aurora, Illinois, was final seen at a Wisconsin water park, in accordance to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The 6-year-old boy was final identified to be within the firm of his mom, Amy Fry-Pitzen, who was discovered useless of an obvious suicide in an Illinois resort in May 2011.
Investigators stated that Fry-Pitzen left behind notes that stated her son was secure however would by no means be discovered.
Before authorities realized the reality, Pitzen’s household had held out hope that the yearslong thriller surrounding the disappearance was about to finish.
“We always felt very strongly that Tim was alive,” Pitzen’s maternal aunt, Kara Jacobs, instructed NBC Chicago on the time. “What I’ve prayed about since he’s been gone is that God will keep him close and take care of him. And that maybe, by some stroke of luck, he was with people who would love him.”
The boy’s grandmother, Alana Anderson, instructed NBC News that she had by no means stopped occupied with her grandson.
“I just prayed that when he was old enough that he would remember us and contact us,” she stated. “That was kind of the best I could hope for.”
According to prosecutors, Rini pretended to be Pitzen after watching a information story concerning the case. He instructed investigators that he did it as a result of he needed to get away from his circle of relatives.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, he apologized to Pitzen’s household.
“I wish that I could just take it back,” Rini stated. “I am sorry to the family.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Healey stated Rini prompted the household “unnecessary pain.”
“He needs to understand that when he tells lies like this, it does cause damage,” Healey stated. “It hurts people, it hurts their families, and it takes law enforcement away from their very serious job of helping children who have been sex trafficked.”
The Associated Press contributed.