Man who pretended to be missing Timmothy Pitzen faces new charges

Pitzen, of Aurora, Illinois, was last seen at a Wisconsin water park in 2011 at the age of 6.

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By Minyvonne Burke

An Ohio man accused of pretending to be Timmothy Pitzen, a boy who vanished as a child in 2011, is facing additional charges, including identity theft.

Brian Michael Rini, 23, was initially charged earlier this month with one count of making false statements after he told investigators in Kentucky that he was Pitzen and had run across an Ohio bridge to escape two kidnappers. DNA tests later determined that he was not Pitzen.

Wednesday's indictment by a grand jury upped the charge against Rini to two counts of making false statements and one count of aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of Ohio said in a press release.

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Brian Rini mugshot.Hamilton County Sheriff

While posing as the missing boy, Rini told authorities that he had been sexually and physically assaulted for years and complained of having abdominal pains, officials said. He was taken to the hospital where FBI and a detective with the Aurora Police Department met with him.

He continued his impersonation until he was told by investigators that the results of a DNA test he agreed to take did not match DNA of Pitzen's relatives. Because Rini had previously done time behind bars for a conviction on burglary and vandalism charges, the FBI had access to his DNA. Ohio jail records show that Rini was released from prison in March.

Rini came up with the ruse after watching a news story on Pitzen, said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin Glassman. Rini told investigators that he wanted to get away from his own family, a statement from Glassman's office said.

Pitzen, of Aurora, Illinois, was last seen at a Wisconsin water park at the age of 6, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He was last known to be in the company of his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, who was found dead of an apparent suicide in an Illinois hotel in May 2011.

Timmothy PitzenWMAQ

Authorities said notes she left behind stated that her son was safe but would never be found.

Around 50 officers and public health officials were assigned to investigate after Rini came forward claiming to be Pitzen, said Special Agent in Charge of FBI Louisville Robert Brown.

Rini, who allegedly pretended to be a juvenile sex trafficking victim on two prior occasions, is expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon.

Making false statements to federal agents carries an eight-year prison sentence, and aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory additional two-year sentence, prosecutors said.