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Federal Grand Jury Indicts Ohio Man For Pretending To Be Missing Illinois Boy

Ohio Department of Corrections

A federal grand jury in Cincinnati has indicted an Ohio man who pretended to be a missing Illinois boy. Brian Michael Rini, 23, is charged with making false statement to federal agents and aggravated identity theft.

Rini will appear before a federal magistrate Friday afternoon for arraignment on the indictment.

U.S. District Attorney Ben Glassman said earlier this month DNA testing showed Rini was not Timmothy Pitzen of Illinois who was last seen in 2011.

Newport residents spotted the person in question near West Eighth and Columbia on April 3. They described him as having deep bruising and anxiety. Eventually he reportedly walked up to a car and asked for help.

"He walked up to my car and he went, 'Can you help me? I just want to get home,' " a 911 caller told dispatchers. "I asked him what's going on and he tells me he's been kidnapped and he's been traded through all these people and he just wanted to go home."

Pitzen's mother allegedly killed herself in a Rockford, Illinois, motel room, after writing notes claiming Timmothy was with people who loved him and would take care of him. The notes also said he would never be found.

Police say Rini refused to be fingerprinted, but did agree to DNA testing.

Federal authorities said Rini was questioned by FBI agents and advised that giving false information to federal investigators was a crime. Glassman said Rini held to his story that he was Pitzen until he was confronted with DNA evidence that showed he wasn't.

Rini was released from prison in March after serving 18 months for vandalism and burglary.

Glassman said Rini learned details about Pitzen from watching a 20/20 episode.  Rini told investigators "he wished he had a father like Timmothy's."


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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.