Listen to Newport police radio traffic
Kareem Elgazzar, email@example.com
CINCINNATI – Timmothy Pitzen is still gone.
Many questions remain unanswered in the case of a man who police said impersonated a Chicago-area child who disappeared almost eight years ago.
But perhaps the most pressing question was answered Thursday: Timmothy wasn’t found, the FBI office in Louisville announced after nearly 36 hours of anticipation.
The person pretending to be Timmothy, according to police officials, is actually a 23-year-old man: Brian Michael Rini of Medina, Ohio. Police responded to Columbia Street in Newport, Kentucky, Wednesday morning on a report of a troubled person claiming to have escaped a years-long imprisonment.
Who would impersonate a missing child?
Are there penalties for inducing such a furor, which sparked national media attention and hope from the Pitzen family that their loved one would be returned to them?
The answers to these and other questions may be revealed Friday.
Meanwhile, next month will mark the eight-year anniversary of Timmothy’s disappearance. He was 6 years old in 2011 when he disappeared under bizarre circumstances, including his mother taking her own life and a note stating Timmothy was safe but wouldn’t be found.
Will Rini be criminally charged?
Late Thursday, Newport Police Chief Tom Collins said charges against Rini could come next week.
The nature of those charges remains unclear.
Why did he say he was Timmothy Pitzen?
Neither the FBI nor Newport Police have released a possible motive in the case.
A responding officer Wednesday listed the person found in Newport as Timmothy Pitzen and gave the boy’s correct date of birth, according to audio of police radio traffic.
A police report revealed the person said he’d run across a bridge into Kentucky, fleeing captors who had snake and spider-web tattoos.
In reality, Collins said, that person was Rini, who has been convicted in the past on false-alarm-related charges.
Video of Timmothy Pitzen produced by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
What is Rini’s backstory?
Some questions have already been answered, but more may be discovered about Rini’s family, personal and professional life in the coming days. Those details may shed light on why he was in the Cincinnati area.
Rini does have an adult criminal record dating back to 2013.
Records show Rini was released from an Ohio prison March 7 after serving more than a year for burglary and vandalism.
He was among four men charged in Medina County in 2017 after officials said they hosted a party and caused more than $1,000 in damage to a former model home. According to the Medina Gazette, Rini had visited the $400,000 home as a potential buyer. Two days later, he introduced himself to neighbors and told them he had purchased the house and was hosting a party that night, the Gazette reported.
The next day, police were notified about the damage.
What’s next for the Pitzen family?
Timmothy’s grandmother and aunt spoke to the media Thursday, saying they feel they’re “back to ground zero.”
They are devastated and exhausted by the false hope of the situation.
However, in a perverse way, it may have helped in the hunt for Timmothy, said William Rowley, an Aurora, Illinois, Police Department spokesman. Timmothy lived in Aurora.
“It created a renewed awareness in the case,” Rowley said. “It’s good that it’s got people thinking about the case again, and perhaps has people looking at the case with new eyes.”
Where is Rini?
With the possibility of criminal charges, according to police officials, Rini’s whereabouts may become apparent in the coming days.
The filing of criminal charges typically results in a jail booking, with the accused then having a chance to bond out.
For now, Rini’s whereabouts are unknown.
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