A man who said he was Timmothy Pitzen is not the missing boy, according to DNA tests, the FBI said Thursday.
The person claiming to be Pitzen — a 6-year-old boy who went missing after his mother died by suicide in 2011 — is actually Brian Michael Rini, a 23-year-old man from Ohio, according to the chief of police in Newport, Kentucky.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Timmothy's family shared their heartbreak over the news.
"It's been awful. We've been hopeful, frightened," said his grandmother, Alana Anderson. "It's just been exhausting."
His aunt, Kara Jacobs, added: "We know you are out there somewhere, Tim, and we will never stop looking for you, praying for you and loving you."
In a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, the FBI said that DNA tests show the person is not Pitzen.
"To be clear, law enforcement has not and will not forget Timmothy, and we hope to one day reunite him with his family," an FBI spokesman said in a statement to WCPO in Cincinnati. "Unfortunately, that day will not be today."
The news that Pitzen had perhaps returned sent shock waves through the country. It was reported that a teenager had made a daring escape and fled from two men who were holding him captive at a Red Roof Inn. He was said to have crossed state lines from Ohio into Kentucky where he was found around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday and where he told witnesses had been on the run for two hours.
“We have this child who said he ran away. He said he was kidnapped, looks like back in 2011 he was kidnapped. Last name is Pitzen. First name is Timmothy,” a police dispatcher was recorded saying. “He's been gone for seven years. So they are still talking to him.”
The man claiming to be Pitzen was taken to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, one of the top children's hospitals in America. He was being treated for injuries and evaluated by child psychiatrists.
At first, it seemed it could be Pitzen. The man knew Pitzen’s middle name, James, and gave the accurate date of his birth, and Pitzen’s aunt said he answered questions about things only family members would know.
“We always felt very strongly that Tim was alive. Regardless of what anybody said. I knew he was alive. Where he was or who he was with was just too difficult to imagine,” she told CBS News.
Police had said they were looking for two white males driving a Ford SUV. One suspect has a spider web tattoo on his neck, the other a snake tattoo on his arm.
Pitzen’s disappearance has baffled authorities for years. His mother picked him up at school in Aurora, Illinois, on May 11, 2011. She claimed there was a family emergency.
For the next three days they were on what seemed like a little boy's dream road trip, visiting a water park resort and doing other fun things. Surveillance video shows them checking into a hotel in Wisconsin.
Then, his mother took her own life, leaving behind this heartbreaking note: “Tim is somewhere safe with people who love him and who will take care of him. You will never find him.”
The boy's father, Jim Pitzen, has never stopped looking for his missing son.