CHICAGO (CBS) — Brian Michael Rini, the Ohio man accused of making up a story that he was Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora boy who has been missing for eight years, was ordered held without bail pending trial on federal charges.
Rini, 23, was charged Friday with one count of making false statements to federal authorities, and could face up to eight years in prison if convicted. During his detention hearing on Monday, a judge ordered him to remain in custody pending trial.
According to the charges, Rini repeatedly told investigators he was Timmothy Pitzen, a boy missing from west suburban Aurora since May 2011, after he was found wandering in a neighborhood of Newport, Kentucky. Rini allegedly told authorities he had been held by two men for seven years, and had been sexually abused.
Police took him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he refused to be fingerprinted, but submitted to a DNA test, which determined his true identity.
After Rini was confronted with DNA evidence, he admitted to federal agents that he was not Pitzen.
Investigators admitted that they had their doubts about Rini’s claim.
“I think that declining to be finger printed certainly is a red flag,” U.S Attorney Benjamin Glassman said.
Rini has made similar false claims twice before, Glassman said. Investigators determined Rini had twice before falsely portrayed himself as a juvenile sex trafficking victim.
“It is not OK to make false claims to law enforcement in matters like this,” Glassman said. “It is not OK because it causes pain to the missing child’s family.” It also diverts law enforcement resources who “move heaven and earth” to investigate the claims, he said.
The feds said Rini had recently watched a “20/20” segment about Pitzen. Ohio state records show the segment aired around that time that Rini was released from an 18-month stint in prison for burglary and vandalism.
Rini has a long rap sheet, and he got out of prison just a month ago on that burglary and vandalism case.
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.
It is 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.
Rini’s next hearing in this case has been scheduled for April 19.