CHICAGO (CBS) — A person found in Kentucky on Wednesday is not Timmothy Pitzen, the Aurora boy who disappeared nearly eight years ago, the FBI said Thursday. Instead, police say Brian Michael Rini, 23, of Medina, Ohio, made up the story.
Rini has a long rap sheet, and he got out of prison just 27 days ago. Now, even his family members say he needs to be punished for what he’s done.
The Newport, Kentucky, residents who helped him and prayed for him over the last two days say they can’t fathom why the 23-year-old man would go to such drastic lengths to impersonate a missing child.
“I prayed that it was going to be him. I didn’t say it out loud, but I truly in my heart thought it was him,” said witness Sharon Hall.
Rini’s own brother is disgusted. Jonathan Rini said he hasn’t talked to his brother in years but worries that he’s off the medicine he’s prescribed for a range of mental health issues.
“He was receiving treatment, but then he stopped and started getting in more trouble,” Jonathan Rini said. “He was in juvy a lot when we were kids, and then he went to jail and actually he just got out of prison.”
Brian Rini is fresh out of a year and a half with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on March 7.
He was ordered to three years of probation upon release, which would have required him to obtain a written travel permit before leaving the State of Ohio. It’s not clear if that happened.
And it’s clear that long before claiming to be Pitzen, Rini had a lot of contact with police. His criminal record dates back to at least 2013 and includes a history of lying.
CBS 2 discovered that he pleaded guilty to two charges of “making false alarms” in 2015 and 2016.
His brother said that he’s even impersonated him.
“He used my name in a traffic stop in Norton and skipped court, and I received a traffic warrant for it,” Jonathan Rini said.
“Now you can add fraud to the list. And he’s also hurt a family,” said witness Fray Knight.
As for how investigators could have possibly mistaken a 23-year-old man for a 14-year-old boy, Newport Police say they were skeptical, but unlike his mugshot, Rini appeared very thin and very unhealthy, which made it more difficult to gauge his age.
“I hope he gets help,” Jonathan Rini said. “I hope he goes to prison for this or at least an institution, but I have no idea.”
There is still no word from the FBI on whether there will be charges. The Newport Police Department is deferring to the FBI but will file charges if deemed appropriate.