CHICAGO (CBS) — Timmothy Pitzen has not been seen since 2011, but he may have finally been found. A boy turned up in Kentucky saying he’s Timmothy and he was being held hostage for years.

Timmothy Pitzen was 6 years old when he disappeared in 2011. An age-progressed image from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, released in 2018, shows how he would look at age 13. (Source: Aurora Police/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

The boy was first spotted Wednesday morning in Newport, Kentucky. He ran across a bridge from Cincinnati eventually claiming to be the boy from Aurora who vanished years ago.

The boy is currently at a hospital in Cincinnati more than 500 miles away from the spot where Timmothy was last seen more than seven years ago.

Timmothy’s mother was found dead in a Rockford hotel. She left a chilling suicide note that said Timmothy was safe, he was with someone who loved him, and he would never be found. But all of that might have changed.

“He said he had escaped,” said the woman who called 911. “He said he was missing from Illinois. That’s what he said.”

CBS 2 spoke her after she was approached by the boy who said he’d been running for hours, starting in Cincinnati and then crossing a bridge over the Ohio River and into Newport.

“He told me his name was Timmothy Pitzen,” she said.

When police arrived he told investigators he had just escaped from two kidnappers that have been holding him for seven years.

When they searched the name, the unbelievable account suddenly became possible.

In May 2011, then 6-year-old Timmothy’s mother picked him up from school in Aurora. Amy Fry-Pitzen then took the boy on a two-day trip to the Brookfield Zoo, a water park in Gurnee, and finally the Wisconsin Dells, where the last known sighting of Timmothy was caught on tape, as they checked out of the resort.

Two days later, Fry-Pitzen was found dead in a Rockford hotel along with that haunting note saying that her son was safe, but no one would find him.

That ominous message rang true for nearly eight years.

The boy, who is now being treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, told police he was being held by two white men built like bodybuilders. He’d been staying at a Red Roof Inn and said his kidnappers drove a Ford SUV with unknown Wisconsin license plates.

Timothy’s aunt told CBS 2 they’ve been in contact with investigators who are currently running a DNA test with known samples from the boy.

“We hope it’s true,” said Timmothy’s aunt, Kara Jacobs. “What’s hard is the story that he escaped from captors. And your mind goes in too many directions that you don’t want to think about. And 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. And if that’s not the case, it will be heartbreaking to get through, and it will be a legacy with Tim for the rest of his life.”

Aurora police have investigated several false sightings in the past, so they are being cautious.

Two detectives were in Cincinnati Wednesday night to see if they can verify the boy’s identity.

Megan Hickey